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Office 2016's Windows release tipped for September 22

Office 2016's Windows release tipped for September 22

Microsoft’s productivity suite is getting a big boost in collaboration features, but few design changes

The Windows version of Microsoft Office 2016 appears to be less than a month away, according to a leaked internal document.

A screenshot from Microsoft’s employee intranet lists a September 22 release date for Office 2016 on Windows, reports. Microsoft released a Mac version for Office 365 subscribers in July, promising a standalone release in June.

It sounds like pricing will be similar to that of Office 2013, with claiming a cost of 140 Euros for Home & Student, and 240 Euros for Home & Business. (In the United States, Microsoft currently charges $140 for Office 2013 Home & Student, and $220 for Office 2013 Home & Business.) Of course, Microsoft is still heavily pushing Office 365, which provides the latest version of Office for an annual subscription fee. Pricing starts at $70 per year for personal use on a single PC or Mac.

What’s different in Office 2016? In terms of design and layout, not much, though The Verge notes that the colorful menu bars found in Office’s mobile versions will make their way to the desktop. The big emphases in Office 2016 will be on real-time collaboration, with Microsoft finally adding support for real-time simultaneous editing. Desktop users will also get the “Tell Me” feature that appears in Office’s web and mobile apps, providing quick access to hidden settings through a text search box.

For more on what Office 2016 will bring, check out PCWorld’s hands-on preview. You can also try out the public preview for yourself.

Why this matters: Over the last year, many of the big changes in Office have come on the mobile side, with Microsoft scrambling to release free versions of its productivity suite on iOS, Android, and Windows tablets. Still, Microsoft hasn’t forgotten about its lucrative desktop software, and the focus on real-time collaboration in Office 2016 should help stave off threats from alternatives such as Google Docs and Quip.

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