"They are doing extensive testing and targeting the next couple of weeks (for release of the final version)," said a spokeswoman for the Washington-based software maker in a phone interview today.
Microsoft first announced the Outlook patch in mid-May as beta software. The patch was issued in response to a growing number of virus attacks on the vendor's email software culminating with the "ILOVEYOU" virus.
The company originally planned to release a full version of the patch in the week of May 22 but, late that week, said it was working modifications into the patch at the suggestion of users and would delay the release by a week.
The delay pushed the release date to sometime last week although the Microsoft spokeswoman said today further rounds of compatibility testing have led to more delays.
The patch adds much more security to Outlook when installed making it much more difficult to launch and pass on email messages carrying computer viruses. A by-product of the patch is that some functionality is taken out of the product - certain attachments cannot be read for example - but Microsoft says a growing number of users are willing to sacrifice such features in return for a higher level of security.
More information on the patch can be found on the Web at http://www.officeupdate.com/.