Microsoft Office: Worth the (longer?) wait?

Earlier today, we reported that the product which Microsoft likes to call the 2007 Microsoft Office system (is there any chance that they'll rename their next OS Vista Windows?) has apparently been delayed again.

I say "apparently" because the interesting thing about Microsoft's announcement (which came in an e-mail to journalists) is that it speaks of a revision to the timetable without ever saying whether that revision will result in the suite arriving later, earlier, or what.

Technically, all the timetable has gotten is vaguer. Back in March, Microsoft said it had "confirmed" that the suite would reach volume-licensing customers in October and hit retail in January, 2007, at the same time as Windows Vista.

Consider that timetable unconfirmed: The new schedule says Office will get to its first customers by the end of this year, and be broadly available in early 2007. You gotta think that means that the October and January dates have slip-slided away, even if Microsoft is unwilling to speak in plain English about what's happened.

The obvious follow-up question is, does this have any impact on Vista's ship date? Microsoft says that product is still on schedule, but I don't think anyone would be startled if it got pushed back, too. (For what it's worth--not necessarily all that much--the beta 2 of Office 2007 released last month feels far more fully-baked than the Vista beta 2 that came out at the same time.)

Incidentally, I've been using the Office 2007 beta 2 to do a sizable percentage of my work for the past few weeks...and though it's not perfect, I think there's a lot to admire in it. Microsoft's record with user-interface innovations is spotty (actually, I'm being kind: It's just plain bad), but in this case, they've come up with something that's both radically different and meaningfully better.

If you spend much time trying to make documents look their best, I think you'll find an especially large number of things in the upgrade you'll like--after spending time in the new PowerPoint, I wouldn't want to go back to the old one. I'll be glad when it's a shipping product, but the rational reaction to news of delays, of course, is to encourage Microsoft to take the time it needs to release a stable, secure, and usable product.

Delay or not, it's easy to check out the new suite. If you've got a broadband connection and some patience, download the whole thing in beta form. (Like I say, I've found it to be in pretty good shape and have been using it for real work.) If not, take a look at the browser-based demo. Both are available at the Office 2007 site.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Harry McCracken

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?