Microsoft is reportedly planning to preview its next major productivity suite Office 2013 (or Office 15 if you like) on 16 July, suggesting a full launch early next year.
The Consumer Preview of the productivity suite had been tipped for July.
According to USA Today, Office 15 is expected to be available early next year "bristling with hooks into Windows 8."
This suggests that the software giant may be planning to release the new Office suite just in time to ride on the coat tails of the new OS’ arrival and that of a new family of tablet computers called Surface.
Just what will be new in Office 15 (or Office 2013) is a guessing game at this point, but sure bets include increased social-media integration and greater integration with Office 365 and Lync, the software giant’s confusing efforts at unified communications.
Of particular note is the rise of the social enterprise – entire businesses that take the best lessons from social media like Twitter and Facebook and apply them in a cohesive way to boost productivity and collaboration with employees and partners.
In recent weeks, Microsoft officially confirmed its US$1.2bn acquisition of Yammer.
Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Windows 8 will release to manufacture in August, suggesting general availability in October.
Releasing a new OS and the latest edition of the successful Office franchise makes sense if Microsoft is also endeavouring to enter the hardware business with its own range of sleek Surface tablet computers.