Microsoft Announces Office 2016 Preview for IT Pros and Developers

By CIOReview | Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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FREMONT, CA: Microsoft is all ready to make a kick off with the availability of Office 2016 Preview. Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate VP for the Office 365 Client Apps and Services team in his blog spot on Office blog stated that the office has been in private preview for several months and now ready for a commercial expansion.

IT pros and developers can now test the upcoming release of Office 2016. To be clear, this early build doesn’t yet contain all the features we’re planning to ship in the final product. However, through the course of the preview, customers should expect to see new features delivered through monthly updates.

Some of enhancements Kirk noted include:

Data Loss Protection (DLP)—DLP features will be now added to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. With these new capabilities, IT admins can centrally create, manage and enforce polices for content authoring and document sharing—and end users will see policy tips or sharing restrictions when the apps detect a potential policy violation.

Outlook—Significant technical improvements to Outlook incorporate:

  • MAPI-HTTP protocol: RPC-based sync is being with a new Internet-friendly MAPI-HTTP protocol that supports Exchange/Outlook connectivity.
  • Foreground network calls: Eliminated the use of foreground network calls to ensure that Outlook stays responsive on unreliable networks.
  • Multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication is supported through integration with the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL).
  • Email delivery performance: The amount of time taken to download messages, display the message list, and show new email after resuming from hibernation is reduced.
  • Lean storage footprint: Settings has been added that allow users to better manage storage by only retaining 1, 3, 7, 14 or 30 days of mail on the device.
  • Search: Improved reliability, performance, and usability of Outlook search, and integrated the FAST-based search engine in Exchange.

Click-to-Run deployment—For customers on Office 365 subscription service, the 2016 release includes new deployment features that IT pros have been asking for:

  • Better network traffic management: A new Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS) to help prevent congestion on the network is introduced. BITS throttles back the use of bandwidth when other critical network traffic is present.
  • Enhanced distribution management:  Enhanced integration with System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to allow IT admins to efficiently download and distribute monthly Office updates using the native SCCM features.
  • Flexible update management: A way for admins is created to manage the pace at which they receive feature updates and bug fixes while continuing to receive regular security updates.
  • Simplified activation management: A feature in the Office 365 Admin Portal is added to allow admins to manage device activations across users.