Microsoft is to unveil the latest version of its Office ‘cash cow', dubbed Office 15, in a major launch in San Francisco, California tonight.
When the company gave a ‘technical preview' of the software in January, it said that it would extend it to tablets and smartphones. At the time, many thought that meant versions for Android and Apple iOS operating systems, but the subsequent high-profile unveiling of the Microsoft Surface tablet in June suggests versions solely for the Windows Phone 8 operating system instead.
The company is also expected to unveil updates for the Exchange email client, Lync desktop communication software and SharePoint collaboration package.
"With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and Visio," said PJ Hough, chief vice president of development at Microsoft's Office Division, at the time of the technical preview.
Reviews of the technical preview suggest a refined user interface to address vitriolic criticism of the ‘ribbon' interface introduced with Office 2007; easy saving to Skydrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service; and mandatory signing in to Microsoft ID, which also connects users to Flickr, My Office, Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, as well as SkyDrive.
Other rumoured features include the ability to edit Adobe PDF files - not just to save in PDF format.
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