Microsoft tips big Ballmer news today: Office 15 launch likely

Microsoft has confirmed it will make an announcement later today, playing its cards close to its collective chest, but believed to be the official debut of Office 15. The news conference will see Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer host a webcast at noon PDT (3pm EST) and spill all the details, and comes on the heels of Windows 8's official launch details confirmed last week.

Previous leaks suggested Microsoft would reveal Office 15 – aka Microsoft Office 2013 - today, ahead of availability later in the year. A version of the suite will be bundled with Windows RT, complete with a customized interface for ARM-based tablets and other form-factors.

The mystery surrounding the webcast is the latest example of Microsoft's freshly clandestine approach to launches. Ballmer referred to the strategy this month, pointing out that surprise announcements – such as the Surface reveal – would better help it take on Apple and others in the increasingly competitive tech marketplace.