Office 2016 Gets a Launch Date

I have been using Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Office 2016 for about 6 months now and I must say that although it is not flashy it is a improvement over 2013 and offers new integration for social media and cloud services that make it a must for Office users.

The new suite of Office applications which is set to launch on September 22 will give Office 365 ProPlus business subscribers a choice of two types of ongoing updates. As they have in the past, company and organizational users can continue to receive feature and security updates on a monthly basis under an option now called “Current Branch.”

For enterprise users, there will also be a new update option called “Current Branch for Business,” which will deliver three feature updates annually while providing monthly security updates. The option is designed for organizations that prefer to wait for updates, need time for testing or want to better manage customizations, Microsoft said.

Users with personal or home subscriptions who update to Office 2016, meanwhile, will begin seeing automatic monthly updates starting in October.

New Ways To Upgrade and Deploy

“We’ve enhanced the upgrade and installation experience, and for Office 365 subscribers, we’ve made changes to how the 2016 apps are updated moving forward,” Julia White, general manager of Office 365 Technical Product Management, stated earlier this week in a blog post. “We’re also delivering new tools and resources to help you prepare, deploy and manage Office.”

The Current Branch for Business option was developed based on feedback from many users who currently run Office 365 ProPlus, White said. The approach is similar to that taken by Microsoft with its new Windows 10 operating system, she added.

The first Current Branch for Business build, which will come out in February, will be “effectively the same feature set as the September 22nd release, but with four additional months of security updates also included,” White noted.

Business users with volume licensing agreements for Office will be able to download the Office 2016 suite from Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center starting October 1.

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