Microsoft announced this morning the official launch date for the long-anticipated new version of Microsoft Office. Office 2016 will be broadly available starting on September 22, the company says. Meanwhile, Office Customers with volume licensing agreements will be able to download the software on October 1.
The updated version of Office includes a number of new features for desktop customers, including the ability to co-edit documents at the same time, sync files to OneDrive in the cloud, and more.
Alongside the announcement of the launch date, Microsoft noted a few other new features and options for IT admins and businesses looking to deploy the software.
For starters, the company noted that Office 365 ProPlus customers who are paying for the subscription version of Office for companies, will also receive the “Current Branch” – meaning the most up-to-date feature release and security updates – on September 22. This release will also include the new Office 2106 app updates.
But based on customer feedback, Microsoft says it’s introducing a new update model called “Current Branch for Business,” which will offer three cumulative feature updates per year, while continuing to offer monthly security updates. This is designed for organizations that want to test new releases of Office 2016 before rolling out the new features, a Microsoft blog post explains.
The company says it’s also addressing other Office 365 ProPlus IT requests with this release, including deployment through Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to help control network traffic when deploying updates, as well as the introduction of new reports on Office activation and usage. Plus, Office 2016 is getting support for Data Loss Prevention, Multi-factor Authentication and more.
Microsoft is continuing to embrace a cross-platform approach with its new Office software. Office 2016 for Mac was previously released in July, initially to Office365 subscribers. At the time, the company said that the standalone version would not arrive until September, which offered a hint that the Office 2106 launch would arrive this month.
In addition, news of the September Office 2016 launch follows the company’s announcement from yesterday that Microsoft has developed new features for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and Translator which are designed to take advantage of enhancements on Apple’s new iPad Pro, new mobile OS iOS 9, and its Watch software, watchOS 2. Specifically, the company is updating Office with support for things like Apple Pencil, Slide Over and Split View multi-tasking, among other things.