Confirmed: Office 14 delayed until 2010

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Betanews this afternoon that CEO Steve Ballmer did indeed make a "passing remark" during his appearance at an analysts' conference in New York this morning, associating Office 14 -- the company's principal applications suite -- with next year as a release timeframe rather than this year; and that Ballmer's comment was accurate.

The text of Ballmer's comment was first reported by PC Magazine's Mark Hachman, who quoted the CEO as saying, "The next big innovation milestone is Office 14, our next Office release, which will not be this year."

Microsoft's spokesperson told Betanews this afternoon, "We can confirm, as Steve Ballmer shared this morning during his meeting with financial analysts, that the next version of Office will be generally available next year."

Last summer, other spokespersons tipped off journalists, in what appeared to have been a "prepared leak," that Office 14 would be generally available in 2009, most likely during the first half of this year. The delay -- perhaps as much as 12 months, maybe longer -- will mean drastic revisions in the production schedules of supporting third-party software makers, publishers, and training specialists.

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