Microsoft previews Office 12

Long-time Microsoft users who are seeking more advanced features from Office will see such capabilities come to life in the upcoming release of Office 12, the latest version of the company’s popular desktop productivity suite.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  July 19, 2005

Long-time Microsoft users who are seeking more advanced features from Office will see such capabilities come to life in the upcoming release of Office 12, the latest version of the company’s popular desktop productivity suite. With Office 12, an always-on and always-connected environment is possible, said Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of the information worker division at Microsoft. Office 12 will address pervasive computing by giving users access to the information they need to make core decisions. These features will come through things such as its upcoming Scorecard Manager product, known as Maestro. The search functionality has also been improved in Office 12, according to Capossela. “Search, a frustrating experience today, will [also] be taken to a new level in Office 12, as will the complex issues of compliance and meeting government regulations,” he said. “This is the one where people will be most surprised at the amount of work we have done.” Managing digital content as well as document approval will be much simpler and easier, he added. Features in the new Office suite will allow users to centrally set things, such as expiration rules and archival policies, on core document types. “This is a big area of opportunity for all of us. While areas like collaboration are super-important, enterprise content management and business process integration are the biggest ones, and our shared goal is to help people get better results faster,” Capossela explained. “These are the kinds of things we are testing and asking our partners if these are what they want and need. This is not the final list, but this could well be much of what the final list looks like,” he added. The first beta of the product will be made available this fall. A second, much larger, beta will be made available next spring, while the final product will ship in the second half of 2006. “If I look into a crystal ball, these are a few things that Office 12 will bring, although we are looking at nomenclature changes. We also still got a lot of work to do to talk about packaging and pricing,” he said.

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