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March 09, 2006

Microsoft To Refresh Office 2007 Beta

Courtesy of CRN

Microsoft plans to release a refresh of Office 2007 beta 1 next week.

The "technical refresh" will feature an updated build of the new GUI and bug fixes, according to Microsoft.

Office 2007 beta 1 came out in November, and beta 2 remains on tap for this spring. Partner sources have said they expected beta 2 to make its debut this month. The finished product is due out late this year.

Details on the refresh can be viewed at this Microsoft site.

Microsoft is banking on Office 2007 and the upcoming Windows Vista client to spark a wave of upgrades, as well as a new stream of licensing revenue. The Vista client is also due out late this year. Office 2007 will take advantage of Vista perks but will run on Windows 2000 and XP, Microsoft has said.

The original game plan for what was then known as Office 12 was for the product to be the Longhorn version of Office. But as the operating system schedule slipped, the Office team proceeded with its own plan. That group is committed to providing major upgrades to the suite every 36 to 48 months.

The current Office 2003 hit the shelves in October 2003, and Microsoft claims that it’s satisified with the uptake on that product. However, channel partners say far too many users remain on Office XP, Office 2000 and even older versions of the product.

Last week, Microsoft U.S. channel chief Margo Day outlined a channel-focused push to upgrade users to Office 2003. If customers do so, they will be able to upgrade to the new Office version at a lower cost than if they wait.

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