Office 2007 Goes Gold

Microsoft on Monday said it had released the Office 2007 code to manufacturing, concluding the largest beta program for the productivity suite in its history. The company is still on track to release the new Office to businesses November 30, with general availability in early 2007.

In addition to bug fixes and performance improvements, Office 2007 RTM includes several updates, including a SMS text messaging application, localization, and multi-language support.

"The 2007 Microsoft Office system RTM completes the most significant improvements to the products in more than a decade," Microsoft Business president Jeff Raikes said. "It's rewarding to be able to send this release off to our customers and help them take the next big leap forward in productivity."

Along with the release to manufacturing, Microsoft has created new tools and resources to promote the new release. Microsoft Office Online has been redesigned to offer additional templates, new training courses, and more help topics.

Downloadable product trials would begin on December 1, which are an expansion of the current Test Drive program. At the end of the trial, users would have the option to buy or upgrade to the 2007 release. Additionally, Microsoft will provide migration tools and converters to ease the transition for businesses and consumers.

JupiterResearch senior analyst Joe Wilcox said that with Office 2007 out the door, the attention now turns to Windows Vista. "The question everyone will ask me today: How far behind will be Windows Vista? Any day, I expect," he said.

"And it needs to be soon. Presumably, Microsoft would want to launch Office 2007 and Windows Vista during the Consumer Electronics Show, which starts January 8," Wilcox continued. "In an ideal scenario, then, Microsoft would want to RTM both products this week, ideally no later than Wednesday."

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