The next version of Microsoft Office will be called Office 2016, and will appear in the second half of 2015, however, how does this tie in with Microsoft’s on-going Office 365 plans and the inclusion of Office for free on Windows 10 tablets and phones?
We have a universe with “touch-first” and “keyboard-first” flavours of Office, the ability to run Office on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android), and free versions of Office in many contexts. But despite the announcement of the Office 2016 branding, the glue that will hold this together is Microsoft’s subscription service, Office 365.
While you can use Office on iOS, Android and (soon) Windows 10 phones, some features (such as Dropbox integration and collaboration) are only available to paying Office 365 subscribers. And if you want to run Office on a desktop, you have to pay in some way. You can buy standalone editions of the Office apps, but it’s much more expensive than just paying for an Office 365 subscription. I don’t expect that to change when Office 2016 appears.