Microsoft's next generation of Office software looks like it's going to be a rebel and not follow Microsoft's new "Blue" codename. The software will instead go by the codename "Gemini", and it will be composed of two waves that will be released over the next two years. The first wave will be released alongside Windows Blue, and will bring updates to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
The wave-one updates will transform the existing Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote apps by converting the apps to Window's Metro UI. Gemini's second wave is said to be the jump start to Microsoft's planned, frequent updates for Office 365 users. It will bring updates to both the Microsoft Office apps, as well as Microsoft Office services, such as Exchange, or SharePoint.
According to ZDNet, there is a group inside the Microsoft Office team called the Modern Office Experience (MOX). Their prime goal is making Office more Metro for Windows 8 and future Windows Blue users. They accomplished their first goal when they created a Metro version of OneNote. The group originally wanted to create hybrid-Metro office apps, where they would act just like the Office 2013 apps now, but would also be able to work with Windows's Metro environment. Unfortunately, it didn't comply with the Windows RT/8 regulations, so the idea was killed.
Along with the Gemini release, Microsoft plans on developing a touch version of Office in the near future. The touch-based Office will be targeted more towards Windows RT devices, that will have consumers see Office as more than just a desktop-based application. To fully take advantage of the Gemini updates, as well as Microsoft's other Office updates, the company is trying very hard to push consumers to subscribe to its Office 365 service. It is even temping college students to subscribe by offering them a free trial of the service.