Office 2007 delayed again

New version will now be released in 'early 2007

Office 2007 has hit another delay and will now probably ship a few months later than previously expected, Microsoft has announced.

It is delaying the product so engineers can better incorporate feedback from the 2.5 million Office 2007 beta testers, a spokeswoman with Microsoft’s public relations agency says. “What they want to do is to ... give themselves a bit more time to make the product as good as it can possibly be,” she says.

For business customers, this means that Office is now expected by the end of the year, a few months later than the previously announced October target date. For consumers, the Office release date is now “early 2007”. Previously Microsoft had been aiming to deliver the consumer version in January.

Just three months ago, Microsoft announced that it was pushing back Office’s launch date in order to release the software in tandem with its upcoming Vista operating system.

Last month Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said the consumer launch of Vista could slip past his company’s January launch date.

Microsoft is readying two business editions of the productivity suite: Office Professional Plus and Office Enterprise. Consumer versions of the product include Office Home and Student 2007, Office Professional 2007, Office Small Business 2007, Office Standard 2007 and an Office Ultimate 2007 edition.

The latest Beta 2 version of Office 2007 was made available in May, a little earlier than expected.

Late last month, Microsoft released a web-based version of Office that users could test within their Internet Explorer browsers.

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