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Microsoft Office Rumored to Have 'Gemini' Update Schedule

Microsoft may have a series of Office updates, code-named "Gemini," which are planned for arrival over the next year or so.

Veteran Microsoft watcher and Redmond magazine contributor Mary Jo Foley wrote recently that she has seen a schedule of these coming Gemini updates. The main purpose of these updates is to deliver better touch capabilities in versions of Office that will run on the "Windows Store Apps" ("Metro") side of Windows 8 or Windows RT. Currently, Office 2013 runs using the "Desktop" sides of both Windows 8 and Windows RT.

The Gemini schedule shown to Foley by an unnamed source describes the following update schedule:

"Gemini Wave 1.0 (October 2013): Windows Blue app updates

"Gemini Wave 1.5 (April 2014): Office for Mac; Office RT refresh; Perceptive Pixel support; Windows Phone support refresh

"Gemini Wave 2.0 (October 2014): Outlook RT; Office for iOS/Android"

The existence of Windows Blue was confirmed by Microsoft, although not described. Blue is rumored to be a wave of updates to Windows 8 and other Microsoft products that will arrive possibly as early as this summer.

The "Perceptive Pixel support," described for April 2014, apparently represents bringing Office to multitouch big screens. Microsoft announced the acquisition of Perceptive Pixel Inc., which specializes in such big screens, back in July.

Microsoft also supposedly will update Office for Mac in April 2014, per Foley's interpretation. The current edition is Office for Mac 2011.

The long anticipated Office for iOS and Android (which could be for smartphones and/or tablets) are described as happening in October 2014. However, Microsoft hasn't confirmed publicly that it is going ahead with those projects.

Neither has the company confirmed the existence of a future Outlook RT product. Users of Windows 8 and Windows RT get Microsoft's "Mail" app, which is included with those operating systems, rather than Outlook.

Microsoft last month delivered its first updates to the apps that ship with Windows 8 and Windows RT systems, including the Mail app. It also delivered its first Mail app security patch. The delivery process for the app updates and security patch happens through the Windows Store.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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