The wait for Microsoft Office 2016 is over! In a blog posted to the Office Blogs on September 10, 2015, Julia White, Microsoft's General Manager of Office 365, announced that September 22 will be the release date for the updated Office suite, subsequently ending the Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview now in use. Packed with functional updates and a new management console, Microsoft is touting the release as pivotal to their long-term strategy of a cloud-first and mobile-first world. Customers who utilize the Volume License Service Center can download the suite beginning October 1, 2015.
As the first major Office release since the 2013 product, the focus of Office 2016 is compatibility to the enterprise, including app enhancements, deployment support, and a complete resource library for users of both individual licenses and full-scale updates to multiple users. Office 2016 also includes support for Data Loss Prevention across apps and Multi-factor authentication, a familiar security layer to SharePoint and Azure users.
In response to requests made through the Developer Preview channels, Microsoft has incorporated controls to assist in network traffic issues for deployment updates as well the Office 365 Admin portal. Updates for Office 2016 will come in Microsoft's new Current Branch for Business option, which controls the delivery mechanism, providing three cumulative feature updates per year.
Microsoft also reminded users about the community aspects to its products, pointing them to the Office 365 Community portal.