Office 2016 confirmed for September 22 release, February for business

Microsoft Office logoMicrosoft today confirmed a previous leak that Office 2016 would be released on September 22nd.

But the release of Office 365 ProPlus—the version of the desktop suite that comes with some Office 365 subscriptions—is a little more complex. Office 365 ProPlus, unlike the perpetually licensed, non-Office 365 version of Office, currently receives a steady trickle of monthly feature updates in addition to the security updates that all desktop Office products receive. This will continue with Office 2016—but only for one branch, the "Current Branch."

Office 2016 confirmed for September 22 release, February for business

A new second branch is being created, the "Current Branch for Business" (CBB). The CBB won't receive these monthly feature updates. Instead, those will happen three times a year—February, June, and October—and these features will lag the Current Branch by four months.

The first CBB release is scheduled for February 2016 and will contain all of the features of the September 22nd release, plus the security updates released between then and February. The second CBB release is scheduled for June 2016. This will contain all the features that the Current Branch had in February, plus the security updates released between then and June. This pattern will then continue.

As such, organizations that are a little more conservative about their software deployments and don't want to take the risk of using untested features should probably ignore the release this month and wait for February.

This approach is consistent with the one Microsoft is intending to deliver for Windows 10; the mainstream consumer track is receiving undocumented feature fixes and other improvements regularly on the Current Branch. The Current Branch for Business will delay that feature work while remaining current with regard to security fixes.

And just as is the case with the CBB for Windows 10, which is restricted to the Pro and Enterprise SKUs, the CBB for Office 2016 won't be available to Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers and will require one of the business-oriented Office 365 subscriptions.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Office

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