While Redmond has, so far, been awfully coy about its operating system strategy, the company is nowhere near as discreet about what is next for the Office suite of productivity applications.

Every once in a while we hear senior Microsoft executives talk about what’s next for Office users.

The company is said to working on two versions of Office — the next full version of the suite, and a touch enabled flavor aimed at Windows 8.1 tablets and competing devices. And now another high ranking Microsoft official has confirmed that a new generation of Office apps is indeed coming.

Microsoft Office corporate vice president for marketing, John Case, in a new interview said that the recently launched OneNote app for Windows 8.1 is a hint into the next Office suite.

“We’ll do more things like that, that will be about different form factors and different applications. The Office suite has been very consistent. We haven’t had new apps in a long time. We’ll have some new app investments coming. New ways of creating content, new ways of storing and organizing content.”

Nice to see the company acknowledging that Office has been a bit stagnant in terms of new features, and that they are open to adding in new applications:

“As much we love Word, Excel and PowerPoint, there’s another generation of app experiences we want to enable. Some of it will feel like big stuff, and some will feel like small stuff. We want to let you create content in different ways that we think will be more personal for you.”

However, he stops shy of sharing more details on when the touch based version of the productivity suite will be released, or exactly what sorts of changes we should expect.

Previous reports on the matter have claimed that the Metro version of Office is on track for launch sometime this year — either late spring or early summer. Then again, these are just early rumors, and we will have to wait for official confirmation from Microsoft to find out what’s coming.

In any case, this much is sure that the suite of productivity applications is about to get a fresh new coat of paint. An overdue fresh new coat of paint.

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