Rumor: First beta of Microsoft Office 15 due in January

Microsoft's two biggest businesses are its Windows and Microsoft Office divisions. Microsoft is working on Windows 8 but the company also has its eyes set on releasing the latest version of its Office productivity suite. Now reports via unnamed sources that Microsoft plans to release the first beta version of Office 15 (working title) sometime in late January. The company has reportedly been working on the final milestone builds of Office 15 in preparation for the beta launch.

Microsoft is expected to offer a Technology Preview version of Office 15 to the public in early January at CES 2012, which is also when Microsoft is expected to launch the beta version of the Windows 8 operating system. Office 15 will likely support many of the touch interface features that are being developed for the Metro-style interface for Windows 8.

It's more than likely that Microsoft will release the newest version of Office alongside Windows 8 which many analysts believe is scheduled to launch sometime in the third quarter of 2012. Even though Microsoft is moving more into the cloud server business with the launch earlier this year of Office 365, the company likely knows that it's Office software suite will continue to be used on local PCs for a long time to come.

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