Microsoft is revamping Outlook 15 to integrate social networking and Hotmail in new ways, according to Paul Thurrott.
Microsofts upcoming Outlook 15 will offer a variety of
tweaks to the interface, according to a March
on Paul Thurrotts Supersite for Windows.
For starters, Outlook 15 will offer native integration of
Hotmail, along with social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Another new
feature, Peeks, will offer more information about Outlook items without needing
to actually open them. Email offers inline replies, and Calendar includes a
Its pretty clear that Outlook is being brought in line
with Microsofts other email and calendar clients, and with the mobile versions
in Windows Phone in particular, Thurrott wrote. The Contacts module has been
renamed to the more consistent People, for example, and Outlook now connects
natively to new calendar types.
In addition, Microsoft is apparently preparing a new
platform called Office Web Apps Server, according to a March 20 posting on Mary
Jo Foleys All
blog. This server will be able to serve multiple
SharePoint farms for viewing and editing documents, she wrote. In addition, a
server or farm running Office Web Apps will be able to view files stored across
data stores including SharePoint Server and compatible third-party stores such
as those from Oracle and IBM FileNet.
Microsofts upcoming suite of updated productivity products,
which falls under the umbrella of the code name Office 15, is an ambitious
project. The platform has already been distributed to a select group of
testers, with a public beta reportedly due this summer; the final release is
rumored for late 2012, around the same time that Microsoft releases Windows 8.
On a broad level, Office faces the same challenges as
Windows: In a tech world increasingly slated toward mobility, where consumers
and businesses complete more and more of their daily tasks on smartphones and
tablets, how do you evolve software originally built for traditional PCs with
massive hard drives?
Microsofts answer is apparently a broad-based refresh for
everything from cloud services to mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365
(the cloud-based version of Office), Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and
Visio. Moreover, it is reportedly working on a touch-optimized version of Office
for Windows 8
, the better to take advantage of the upcoming operating
systems optimization for touch screens.
As detailed by Thurrott, Outlook 15 is evidently part of
this broader revamp.
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter