Office 11 Shuns Windows 9x, Me

Beta coordinators for Office 11 revealed late Monday that Microsoft's next generation Office suite will require Windows 2000 SP3 or Windows XP. Microsoft cited security and stability as reasons to cease supporting the Windows 9x kernel.

"We understand that this decision won't be popular among all of our customers, but it allows us to create a better and more stable product," read a message posted to the Office 11 beta newsgroup.

"There were a number of reasons for removing support for Windows 9x. As a number of you have noted, Windows 98 and 98 SE are getting a bit old now. It also relates heavily to the push to improve security in our products. Windows 9x is inherently insecure. It also takes quite a bit of dev time to make our products work well on Windows 9x. We determined that it would be more effective to spend that time making our products work better on the more advanced platforms."

Because Office 11 requires Windows Installer 2.0, Windows 2000 users must install Service Pack 3 or higher. "Installer 2.0 is much better about limiting reboots at install time and when applying patches. It also has features that allow us to minimize the need for the user to insert the CD. Lastly, Installer 2.0 allows us to optimize the patches so that the size of the patch is much smaller," said beta coordinators.

Microsoft shipped Office 11 Beta 1 to testers this week. A final release is expected hit retail shelves by mid next year.

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