Microsoft will soon let select customers and companies try out builds of Office 15, the next generation of Office software, the company announced on its Office Exec blog today.

Microsoft’s Office suite of software is one of the most important (and profitable) products the company sells, so each new major release is a big deal. Microsoft has sold about 200 million Office 2010 licenses since its launch 18 months ago, as spotlighted in Microsoft’s latest quarterly report.

Details on how different Office 15 will be from Office 2010 are scant at this point, but we fully expect smarter integration with the promising cloud-based Office 365 product and always-on cloud capabilities.

“At this early point in our development cycle, I’m not able to share too much about Office 15, but I can tell you Office 15 is the most ambitious undertaking yet for the Office Division,” writes PJ Hough, Corporate VP of Development for the Microsoft Office Division. “With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio. Quite simply, Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before.”

The technical preview release of Microsoft Office 15 will go out to select customers under non-disclosure agreements. The company will then launch a public live beta “later this summer.” ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley says Microsoft is targeting a release for Office 15 by the end of 2012. Microsoft is reportedly not sure if it will call the product “Office 2012” or “Office 2013” to be in line with previous edition names.

Microsoft declined to give us access to anyone to talk more about Office 15 outside of what was discussed in today’s blog post.

Microsoft Office launch photo via Microsoft News Center