Microsoft (News - Alert) Office is quite possibly one of the most widely used office tools out there. For word processing, spreadsheets, and even email hosting, turning to Microsoft Office or Microsoft Exchange has become second nature for a lot of people. Many free software offerings like OpenOffice look to take advantage of Microsoft Office's supremacy in the market by working with it as much as possible. Thus, it should come as both little surprise and good news indeed that Microsoft is said to be planning a new Microsoft Office, as well as new SharePoint and Exchange versions to make their official debut next year.
A pair of recently-unearthed Microsoft charts, said to be geared for partners, were introduced to give us all a better idea as to when the products might start making an appearance. The roadmap suggests that the updates will start rolling out before the end of the second quarter of this year, starting with Office 365, and moving on from there. Internet Explorer 10 is set to hit anywhere in the second half of this year to the early days of 2013, and the various 15s--Microsoft Office, SharePoint, email hosting system Exchange, Project and Visio--are geared to hit in the opening days of 2013.
Microsoft confirmed that the charts in question were given to partners, but that they contained "forward-looking information", which in turn means that many of these dates are tenuous at best. Given that most of them were ranges, it's safe to say that Microsoft's not treating these like product announcements but rather like general information about when to start looking for them to arrive.
Some of the titles have even had preview versions released, like email hosting program Exchange 15 and the Office 15 Technical Preview, but there has been word that Exchange 15 will not only be on display at the Microsoft Exchange Conference in Orlando. Fla. from September 24-26, but will also offer up some "exclusive content" at the event. Those looking to upgrade their email hosting to the next version of Exchange may want to head down south during that time period.
For those who use Microsoft products in general in their office, the future is looking pretty bright, and laden with updates.
Edited by Jamie Epstein