(04/21/12) EDIT: I’ve come to learn that this upcoming release– the real one– will be called Microsoft Office 15, so for the sake of this post ranking higher than it already does (it’s the number one hit on Google for ‘Microsoft Office 2013′), I’m putting in this edit solely to use the term Microsoft Office 15.
Last night at 1:30am EST, we received a surprise tip from faithful reader Chaucer. Chaucer will not reveal his true identity for obvious reasons, though he does want to make it known that this screenshot was leaked from Microsoft’s Canterbury campus. Not much is known about this screenshot other than that it is supposedly from the upcoming Office 2013 suite of applications. Microsoft Office 2013, which has been pulling double-duty on Mac and Windows since 1990, seems to be ready to brave the unknown world of the Linux desktop.
Chaucer claims that Microsoft Office 2013 is primed for multi-platform distribution and is a complete re-write of the Office suite using Qt 4 and Vala. Use of Qt4 finally opens the door for Microsoft to create a unified experience for Mac, Windows and Linux. Qt4 applications are able to take on the appearance of any desktop’s widget-set, so not only can the experience be unified, it can also take on the target’s personality. Check out the screenshot below.
The screenshot shows that Microsoft was able to accurately reproduce the mostly hated Ribbon interface using cute. This build of Outlook is, per Chaucer, running atop the latest stable KDE, 4.8.1, where the Ribbon seems to have taken on full function. Outlook even takes the care to use KDE’s default iconset, Oxygen, in lieu or it’s own assets, furthering integration even more.
This screenshot seems to suggest many things. For one, it looks as if Microsoft plans to integrate with both Skype (obviously would have happened) and Google Voice. Further, it suggests that the upcoming suite of non-free software will support many cloud services other than Skydrive. It looks like Apple’s iCloud is on board along with UbuntuOne and Dropbox.
Chaucer goes on to mention that Microsoft has been working on a Linux distribution for years to replace it’s current NT-based offering. If Windows 8 fails to gain mind-share with consumers, will KDE step in to fill Explorer’s shoes in a post-Windows world?
Only time will tell.