Microsoft prepares to release new Office details -

Software giant Microsoft is expected to release details of the new and improved version of Office today.

Office is the Volish cash cow and selling licences for Windows packaged with the Office suite is big money.

But lately the package, which includes Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, is under intense pressure as competitors bring out products aimed at taking away market share.

Office 15 should be in the shops next year and has lots of software attachments into Windows 8, but so far Microsoft has been a little quiet about what will be under the bonnet.

To do well it has to knock out any attempt by Google to push its Google Docs suite and both Open Office and Libre Office which offer a free version of something very similar. Apple is hoping that people will ignore functionality and have businesses try to tap 20,000 word reports and spreadsheets on iPad software. It has managed to keep Office and Google Docs off the iPad just in case some businesses are that masochistic.

Office accounted for $22.2 billion of Microsoft's nearly $70 billion in fiscal 2011 revenue and $14.1 billion of operating income, by far the most of any unit.

If Office 15 fails then virtually every part of Microsoft will suffer.

Rumours are abound that Office 15 might enable editing of Adobe PDF documents and feature mobile functions to get onto more devices.

Certainly it is expected that Office 15 will play very nicely with Vole's Surface tablets and connect the software into Microsoft's free internet-accessible services. It will also be a lot more touch friendly. Anyway, we will know soon enough.