Confirming rumors about its productivity suite, Microsoft has officially announced that Office 2016 for Windows will be released Sept. 22.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the new Office “leverages some of the major developments in social and collaborative work, with better multi-authoring and sharing functionalities.”
“This is a seminal release for Office and one you won’t want to wait to deploy to your users, and thanks to the many new IT management enhancements, you don’t need to wait,” Julia White, general manager of Office 365 technical product management wrote on a Microsoft Office blog.
Users that have a volume licensing agreement in place can download Office 2016 from the volume licensing service center starting Oct. 1. In July, the company released Office 2016 for Mac.
As part of the Office overhaul, Microsoft enhanced the upgrade and installation experience and, for Office 365 subscribers, made changes to how the 2016 apps are updated. The company is also delivering new tools and resources to help users prepare, deploy, and manage the software.
“By incorporating some of the larger productivity trends into one suite, the goal for Microsoft, as always, is to keep enterprises using its various software and services — a challenge in today’s social, mobile and cloud era as worldwide PC sales drag,” the WSJ said.
“From an enterprise perspective, Office is an essential part of the way Microsoft moves forward and keeps its relevancy,” Forrester Research senior analyst T.J. Keitt said. “In the marketplace, Office is viewed as more important than Windows.”
Microsoft has been adapting Office to work across desktops and devices since the introduction of the cloud-based Office 365 subscription service. Office 365 is now in four out of five Fortune 500 enterprises, with commercial subscriptions up 74% over the last year and more than 55% of the install based on premium downloads.
Office 2016 includes new features that were previewed in March for commercial Office 365 subscribers.