Office 12 to get another beta

Microsoft is going to have at least one more beta for the next version of its office productivity software, currently code-named Office 12, before it ships, one of the senior executives working on the project told IT Weekly.

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By  Peter Branton Published  January 29, 2006

Microsoft is going to have at least one more beta for the next version of its office productivity software, currently code-named Office 12, before it ships, one of the senior executives working on the project told IT Weekly. Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Microsoft’s information worker product group, who manages research and development for the Office product line, said the firm is looking to hold a second beta for Office 12, which is currently on beta one. “We’re going to have another beta this spring and our public commitment to release the product is in the calendar year 2006 in the second half,” he revealed. With a second beta scheduled for the spring, it would likely take several months to process any feedback, suggesting that Office 12 will be released towards the end of that time frame, but Sinofsky declined to comment further: “We’re on track for releasing it second half 2006, that’s where I am on that one,” he said. When Office 12 does ship, Microsoft may look at providing a “premium” version of the product, with additional features and functionality, Sinofsky said. Referring to earlier media reports that Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer had announced this premium version already, Sinofsky said that he had in fact been mis-quoted: “I was in the room when he [Ballmer] said that and what he actually meant was that across the board, we will look at having certain premium versions of our products,” Sinofsky said. However, he added, “This is definitely something that we are considering, we are looking for feedback from our customers. We are in the market research phase right now of what we will announce for pricing and packaging.” Sinofsky also acknowledged that Microsoft is facing strong competition from rival Google in the online space. “They offer a product that is very successful, that competes with MSN and we just have to do a better job, we haven’t done as much as we could do and I think we could execute better,” he admitted.

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