The latest version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, Office has hit the shelves. Check out our thoughts on the new version.

The look is remarkably unchanged from Office 2013. While this might be comforting to Office 2013 users, it does little to persuade those that have hesitated to move forward from Office 2010 as it still seems bland and at times difficult to read. This is most notable in Outlook.

The most important change for our customers to note is that Outlook 2016 will no longer work with Exchange versions older than 2010. This leaves Exchange 2007 users clinging to the older software until they upgrade their email systems.

It is clear that Microsoft is really driving users to its Office 365 platform as many of the new features available in Office 2016 are paired with Office 365 offerings. Features like real-time collaboration with other users in Word and PowerPoint are only available through Office 365 accounts or a free Microsoft account. Other new features include Skype integration and quick access to OneDrive for Outlook attachments. For those that don’t have Office 365 a personal or business Microsoft account will be required to access these features.

In summary Office 2016 is an incremental improvement that lays the foundation for Microsoft’s shift to focusing on cloud technologies. New computers will come loaded with Office 2016 as Microsoft phases out 2013; in the mean time we don’t see any reason to run out and upgrade.