On the heels of Microsoft's announcement that the "Office 15" Technical Preview Program had begun, a new report (rumor) has surfaced stemming from "Microsoft insiders" who claim the suite won't be built for the Metro-style interface using the new WinRT programming model. Instead, it will receive interface tweaks to make it more touch friendly within the Windows 8 environment.
Plans to create a true Metro style Windows 8 version of Office 15 have reportedly been pushed back. The reason is that the team would need to completely overhaul the suite to take advantage of WinRT. That means an additional amount of time, thus pushing the Office 15 release back. Instead of a product delay, Microsoft will likely return to the Metro-themed version once the retail product hits the market.
According to the sources, core Office 15 applications will be flatter and feature more white space. They'll also use fewer lines to better focus on content instead of UI real estate. Overall the tweaked Windows 8-friendly appearance will be mere "window dressing" while the Office apps themselves will be traditional Windows apps we've come to know and love underneath.
Insiders also claim that, like the x86-based version, Office 15 for Windows 8 on ARM will contain desktop applications. These apps will reportedly run in a restricted Windows 8 ARM desktop mode specifically designed for power efficiency.
Those disappointed that the next-generation Office platform won't be flavored in Metro spice are still in luck, as Microsoft is reportedly building at least two Metro-style Windows 8 Office apps using WinRT: OneNote and Lync. These will presumably be sold in the upcoming Windows Store, and are less complex than Word and Excel, making them an easy port to Metro and even iOS.
Microsoft is simultaneously updating everything with the release of Office 15 including the company's cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. Office 15 will likely don an official Microsoft Office 2012 or 2013 title, depending on its actual release.