Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

The 'Blue' Version of Microsoft Office is 'Gemini'

By - Source: ZDNet | B 19 comments

The first Office "Gemini" wave is expected to launch alongside Windows Blue.

Right after Microsoft confirmed Windows Blue, unnamed sources came forth and said the Redmond company is using a similar distribution method with Office called "Gemini." It will be a wave of new releases spanning the next two years, the first of which will be aligned with the first rollout of Microsoft's Windows Blue incremental distribution plan.

According to the sources, this first wave is slated to arrive this fall and include updates to Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. There's speculation that these will be the full Modern UI-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and an update to the OneNote Modern UI app already available in Windows Store.

Like the Windows team, the Office team is shifting over to an annual update delivery system rather than waiting three years to release a new product. On the Windows 8 front, customers will likely be required to purchase the update at a low cost for a limited time. Office 2013 owners will likely need to do the same while updates are already built in to the Office 365 subscription model.

The difference with the Office team is that it must focus on several platforms spanning Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows RT and Mac. Let's not forget the Office Web Apps, and ports of Office apps such as Lync for iOS and Android. Instead of a team focused on a single platform, it’s a team focused on a business that sells apps. That's no small task.

But if the first Gemini wave only consists of releasing Modern UI versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, there may be nothing Office 2013 owners need to purchase -- these apps are likely "on the house." As ZDNet points out, Microsoft originally wanted to build a Modern UI version of Office 2013, but discovered this to be more challenging than originally planned. The Modern Office Experience (MOX) team supposedly focused on the OneNote app first, along with the common components for the other Office apps.

Sources claim that the heart of Microsoft second Gemini wave will be the Office 365 subscription model. New features and updates to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online are already on a quarterly update schedule as it is, and the Office 365 Home Premium updates are supposedly just as frequent. That said, what the second wave will bring is unknown at this point.

"Our customers have already experienced the ongoing rhythm of updates and innovations over the past six months including new devices, new apps and services, better performance and new capabilities," said Microsoft corporate VP Frank Shaw in a blog on Tuesday. "This continuous development cycle is the new normal across Microsoft – we'll tune everyday experiences as well as introduce bold, connected and exciting new scenarios. Our product groups are also taking a unified planning approach so people get what they want – all of their devices, apps and services working together wherever they are and for whatever they are doing."

If anything, the first Gemini wave indicates that Microsoft may be smoothing out the differences between Office 2013 for Windows and Windows RT. That could mean a Modern UI version of Outlook may be in the works, or that the desktop Office apps can share content using Windows 8's Charms. Even more, it sounds like the first Gemini wave will wash up alongside the initial Windows 8 Blue launch, which will supposedly allow multiple Modern UI apps to take up equal amounts of space on the same screen.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Display 19 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 5 Hide
    ojas , March 29, 2013 10:27 AM
    Yay. More Modern crap from MS. They might as well shut themselves down.

    I mean, improving office for the touchscreen is good, improving mobile operating systems is good too, but sacrificing the majority of your user base...

    My concern and fear is that MS is trying too hard too get everyone to switch to Metro. No one's trying this hard. Yes, Apple made OS X's desktop look like the iOS home screen. But then that still has icons! And Apple's hardware usually supports the software, so you have a gesture for switching between screens. But windows are still there! Core features are still there! And NOT HIDDEN AWAY IN THE NAME OF A MODERN MINIMALIST DESIGN THAT CONSISTS OF GIANT 8-BIT COLOUR RECTANGLES.

    NOT TO MENTION THE BLUE COULOURED SCREEN OF START.
  • 9 Hide
    nlreynolds80 , March 29, 2013 10:38 AM
    I've been a microsoft fan since Dos 3.2, successfully weathering and even cheering on many changes, but this big push for the modern UI (essentially touch UI) has me seriously concerned. Just keep pushing, Microsoft; you may well push me over the edge to Linux.

  • 4 Hide
    runningnak3d , March 29, 2013 11:11 AM
    If I was a Microsoft shareholder I would be really pissed right now...
  • -2 Hide
    belardo , March 29, 2013 11:18 AM
    MsDos was always crap... Didn't think anyone was an actual of it. If you have more than one pc, why nt try out Linux? Here is a tip. Go to LinuxMint.com get the mate version 64 bit. It's a 980mb download. Make the DVD. Boot with it to a live desktop. On of my computers is full time Linux, it had win8 on it.

    You can change the themes in that Linux, I made the defaulted active windows a dark green, rather than gray. It found all my drivers and works.
  • 6 Hide
    belardo , March 29, 2013 11:20 AM
    runningnak3dIf I was a Microsoft shareholder I would be really pissed right now...
    I would sell my stocks.
  • 1 Hide
    hannibal , March 29, 2013 1:18 PM
    When I was looking in my crystall ball last year I was sure that win9 and win10 will use Modern UI in a little bit improved form, that would make desktop usage a little bit easier than it was in win8... It seems that I was wrong, at leat some point of it...

    My new prediction is that win9 will hide the desktop mode completely and it will be available as an compability mode for win7 (like there now is compability mode for winXP and older osses). Win10 will be the first "real" Modern UI os that don't have desktop mode at all... It has some kind of strange logic in that kind of prediction. Win 8 is a in between hybrid between "old" desktop and apps based "Modern UI" (and not completely good in neither form, though not completely bad neither). And as soon as possible the MS will move to pure Modern UI environment. It would be kind of strange if Win8 would be remembered as the last OS that supported "the Good Ole desktop environment"... and win7 as the last pure Win desktop os.

    But this is only crystall ball prediction and nothing like this can not happen... or can it?


    Why this could happen?
    The desctop idea was to simulate normal desktop, where you have papers, machine writer, pens and other tools. But like real life desktops, the virtual desktop was allso due to the mess. A lot of stuff mixed and very good posibility that something got missed in that space (because people are lazy and not everybody keeps his desktop clean and tidy). It was tryed to remedy by using startup windows, toolbars, meta folders etc. So the idea of desktop where you can find all that you need has been faded a way. Modern UI can be as an evolutionary step further away from desktop metafora. Does it happen, remains to be seeing, but it is one possible explanation why MS seems to be abandon the desktop enviroment with win8. They think that desktop is not needed anymore. Ofcource the mobile environment has caused huge shift to that direction in anyway.
  • 4 Hide
    whyso , March 29, 2013 1:26 PM
    Hmmm, Gemini='the twins'

    Lets hope blue and 8 are not identical
  • -6 Hide
    damianrobertjones , March 29, 2013 1:32 PM
    ojasYay. More Modern crap from MS. They might as well shut themselves down.I mean, improving office for the touchscreen is good, improving mobile operating systems is good too, but sacrificing the majority of your user base...My concern and fear is that MS is trying too hard too get everyone to switch to Metro. No one's trying this hard. Yes, Apple made OS X's desktop look like the iOS home screen. But then that still has icons! And Apple's hardware usually supports the software, so you have a gesture for switching between screens. But windows are still there! Core features are still there! And NOT HIDDEN AWAY IN THE NAME OF A MODERN MINIMALIST DESIGN THAT CONSISTS OF GIANT 8-BIT COLOUR RECTANGLES.NOT TO MENTION THE BLUE COULOURED SCREEN OF START.


    ZzzZzzzz. Icons are still located on a square grid. While you and others moan and moan and MOAN on and on people are using this operating system without issue. PC World, today, was still full of people buying machines with Windows 8 and the world goes on.
  • -5 Hide
    damianrobertjones , March 29, 2013 1:33 PM
    belardoI would sell my stocks.


    I wouldn't.
  • -4 Hide
    Soda-88 , March 29, 2013 5:19 PM
    belardoMsDos was always crap... Didn't think anyone was an actual of it. If you have more than one pc, why nt try out Linux? Here is a tip. Go to LinuxMint.com get the mate version 64 bit. It's a 980mb download. Make the DVD. Boot with it to a live desktop. On of my computers is full time Linux, it had win8 on it. You can change the themes in that Linux, I made the defaulted active windows a dark green, rather than gray. It found all my drivers and works.

    Quoting just to say this: rofl.
  • 3 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , March 29, 2013 7:16 PM
    belardoI would sell my stocks.

    I would've done that as soon as I saw Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
  • 2 Hide
    ojas , March 29, 2013 8:55 PM
    runningnak3dIf I was a Microsoft shareholder I would be really pissed right now...

    I dunno their stock's been on the up in 2013...fell initially after 8. That's also a prob. If it fell like Apple's as a reaction to Win 8 then they'd get the message.
  • 1 Hide
    viper666 , March 29, 2013 10:34 PM
    There is speculation that W9 (or whatever the name will be) will surface around November 2014... if it's the same fail as W8, Debian here i come.
  • 2 Hide
    runningnak3d , March 30, 2013 9:36 AM
    I'm torn between Ubuntu, LinuxMint, and OpenSuSE. They all have their drawbacks, but at least Linux will continue to have an effing desktop with real WINDOWING. I am seriously pissed at Microsoft. Took my favorite OS and just effing devastated it. Microsoft: I HAVE AN EFFING *DESKTOP* COMPUTER. NOT A TABLET. I DON'T WANT AN EFFING TABLET OS ON MY EFFING DESKTOP.
  • 1 Hide
    10tacle , March 30, 2013 3:01 PM
    Well, essentially now it has been validated that MS is not moving back to a traditional desktop user interface we've had for two decades. I was hoping at the very least MS would have two versions of Blue, one for touch, one for desktop. I will not conform to the tablet/touch screen BS. I want my keyboard, I want my mouse, and I want my simple GUI, icons, windows, and straightforward directories.

    While my Win7 gaming rigs and laptop will still be supported for several years, it's time to start thinking of learning Linux.
  • 1 Hide
    STravis , March 30, 2013 3:32 PM
    runningnak3dI'm torn between Ubuntu, LinuxMint, and OpenSuSE. They all have their drawbacks, but at least Linux will continue to have an effing desktop with real WINDOWING. I am seriously pissed at Microsoft. Took my favorite OS and just effing devastated it. Microsoft: I HAVE AN EFFING *DESKTOP* COMPUTER. NOT A TABLET. I DON'T WANT AN EFFING TABLET OS ON MY EFFING DESKTOP.


    They may have a desktop but if you saw what Ubuntu did with Unity..well, that's not pretty either - seems like they're also trying to bridge some imaginary gap.
  • 0 Hide
    randomizer , March 30, 2013 9:20 PM
    damianrobertjonesPC World, today, was still full of people buying machines with Windows 8 and the world goes on.


    Would you expect them to all of a sudden stop buying computers if they didn't like the latest version of Windows? Apart from Macs there is no alternative apart from building your own rig and installing your own OS (a tiny percentage of people do this). Just like with Vista people will suck it up and buy anyway. They don't see any other option and their old computers are old so they need to be replaced. Welcome to consumerism.
  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , March 31, 2013 10:21 PM
    i think it is because the majority of folk can't afford a real desktop anymore. The games market is flat with old tech. The power of the desktop is not be used power the latest and greatest games. They are being done on outdated consoles. That is all the consumers can afford.

    i have said it before. When the middle class is shrinking you then shift your products for the business market and in that model they want it so they can completely control what you access. What software you can use. Big brother here we come. This interface then lets anyone walking past know what you are using. No more switcharoonie. They know what is loading up with a cursory glance.
  • 0 Hide
    Duckhunt , March 31, 2013 10:23 PM
    I like Redhat but Debian linux has more science apps.