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Microsoft launches Office 15 Technical Preview Program

Discreet few to bug test next Office build

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The next version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, codenamed Office 15, is being sent out to a few brave customers this morning.

The Technical Preview Program for Office 15 kicked off Monday morning, as Redmond sent out the code and the preliminary interoperability documentation. The list of testers is already full, and they’ve all had to sign Redmond’s fearsomely strict NDA contracts – and, presumably, have IT profiles that fit the types of environments Redmond wants to test.

“Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division,” said Office development veep PJ Hough in a statement.

With Office 15, Microsoft will try to simultaneously update mobile, possibly fondleslab, desktop, server, and cloud versions of Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. That's a lot of code to go wrong.

There’s also the integration of Skype to consider – which wasn’t mentioned, but must be on the cards if Microsoft is going to stand any change of recouping the $8.5bn it spent on the company. Skype is being touted by Redmond as a natural fit of the Office platform, particularly for cloud services, but there’ll surely be a few technical gremlins to work out along the way.

The code will go to public beta this summer, once the Technical Preview Program participants have identified the major break points. ®

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