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November 17, 2005

Office 12 moves into beta

Microsoft Corp has rolled out a limited technical beta test version of its latest Office suite, which is expected to hit corporate desktops sometime in the second half of next year.

By CBR Staff Writer

Codenamed Office 12, the desktop software suite bundles together staple word processing, spreadsheets, presentation and other personal productivity tools.

It is now being offered to a select customers and partners for testing, according to officials at Microsoft’s Information Worker business unit, which is in charge of Office products.

In total 10,000 customers and partners will be participating in the testing, said Eric Brown, director of marketing at Microsoft’s Information Worker EMEA division.

He said that different customers will put the product undergo various testing and deployment scenarios before the product goes into a broader public beta next spring.

Despite sluggish sales, Microsoft’s Office franchise still chipped in around $2.7bn of the company’s $9.7bn revenue in its recent first quarter.

Microsoft’s hoping to re-ignite sales through the new investments it has made to Office 12’s user interface, workflow and collaboration capabilities and seamless navigation capabilities between Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, InfoPath, OneNote, Publisher, Project, and Visio applications and functions. Also promised in Office 12 are new business intelligence (BI) capabilities to help users share reports with co-workers.

Microsoft gave customers a sneak peak at some of Office 12’s new features at its recent IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain.

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Microsoft is not disclosing pricing details of Office 12 just yet.

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