made it pretty clear that Office
365 would be integrated in
some major way with the next build of Windows (Windows 8), but now we're
learning that the new productivity suite will ship a lot sooner than
Win8 will. In fact, Steve Ballmer seems sure that it'll launch in June.
Prior to this week, the company had simply insisted that it would ship
at some point in 2011, but Ballmer spoke in India and couldn't keep the
cat inside of the bag. His quote? "We're pushing hard in the
productivity space. We'll launch our Office
365 cloud service, which gives you Lync and Exchange and SharePoint and
Office and more as a subscribable service that comes from the cloud.
That launches in the month of June."
Of course, Ballmer's date can't be taken as total fact; he has been
known to blurt out release dates before that were then debunked by
Microsoft proper. But given that June is this month, we're guessing that
he's seen a final-enough build to make that call. And if the Office 365
team was planning on holding a bit longer, well, maybe now is the time
to start working overtime. And with Google Apps getting stronger by the
day (and Apple launches Documents in the iCloud today), Office needs to
be up in the cloud ASAP.