Is Microsoft announcing the new version of Office today?

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Sneaky. Microsoft has decided to attempt to recreate the pervasive air of suspense that hung around the Surface launch by sending out invites to a special event without clarifying exactly what it’s about. So in a few hours (21:00 CAT), Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (yes, the man who basically declared war on Apple) is expected to take to the stage in San Francisco to announce the new Office Suite.

It may be called Office 15 or Office 2013 — it’s a secret. But USA Today claims to have spoken to some Microsoft sources who have confirmed that the update to Microsoft’s new Office Suite — which will include new versions Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint — will come ready to slot in to the latest version of its OS (Windows 8) which will be available from October. But it’s going to have to give users a good reason to update — after all, the sales of Office software account for a sizeable portion of Microsoft’s revenue (almost US US$22-billion last year). A substantial number of users are still using outdated versions of the PC OS (Microsoft XP, anyone?): if they can’t afford to upgrade their PC, will they switch to a newer version of Office?

Some of the rumours include that Office 15 will allow the editing of PDFs and be available for touch platforms like its own Surface and Apple’s iPad. Some sources speculate that the update will include deeper integration with their cloud-based Office 365 offering to raise the bar for competitors like Google Docs.

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