New Office 15 app planned?

On a recent analysts and press event, Microsoft talked about the “future of productivity.” Many ideas around Microsoft’s Office suite were discussed.

Kurt DelBene, Microsoft Business Division President, declared Office 15 the next natural step for investments done in Office 2010. The developers want to make progress in certain specific areas. These include the so-called “creation experiences”—editing photos and videos, for example.

Social interactions for home and business users will see progress as well as new features for using Office in education, for simplifying communication, like better interoperability with Windows Live Messenger, or new usage scenarios for the Web disk SkyDrive.

DelBene confirmed that Microsoft is going to include new or additional applications into the Office suite during the development process. “We do not believe that we’re already covering all basics. We continually search for productive experiences that clients ask for,” the Business Division President stated.

However, it is unknown which area will be covered with the new application in Office 15 or later versions. In her blog, the Microsoft expert Mary-Jo Foley speculates that there could be a new application for organizing and holding meetings. This is based on DelBene’s statement that Microsoft is going to make a large investment to “make meetings great.” Currently there are many features needed in meetings within Office—yet they are spread all over various Office applications, like Outlook, OneNote and PowerPoint. “I could imagine that these will be bundled over time,” DelBene said. For him, meetings are not only limited to business, but also extended for private and family events.

I expect Office 15 for January 2013. However, Microsoft is not yet talking publicly about a roadmap. In the past, there were already rumors about new features like an App Store and other bigger new features.