Step one on the long road to retiring 32-bit computers to the PC graveyard was the development of 64-bit processors (check). Step two was the development of 64-bit operating systems (check). Step three was the development of 64-bit drivers (check). And now, it's almost time for step four: major 64-bit applications.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has done some digging around in Windows 7's MigWiz.xml file (it's used to configure the Migration Wizard in Windows 7) and discovered that the upcoming Microsoft Office 14 will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In the Office 14 section of MigWiz.xml in post-beta builds of Windows 7, Bott found references to both standard and x64 programs in Office 14, as well as references to upgrade options from Office 2003 to either Office 14 or Office 14 x64 (note that the public Windows 7 beta doesn't include these settings). What does this mean to Office 14's expected release date? Bott says:
The fact that this code is being baked into Windows 7 now suggests that the rumors of an early 2010 ship date for Office 14 are accurate. Having native 64-bit support for all members of the Office family is an extra bonus and welcome news.
If you're currently using some version of Microsoft Office, does the advent of a native 64-bit version make you more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 14? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Call it peer pressure, or call it a dose of common sense, but Microsoft is finally looking to take on the free rivals of its Office application suite. During a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology conference, Microsoft Business Division Chief Stephen Elop announced a free / ad supported version which they hope will help combat piracy. According to Elop, “There's an opportunity to draw those pirate customers into the revenue stream. We want to draw them into the Windows family and maybe there's an upsell opportunity later”.
Also in related news, Microsoft Business Software VP Chris Capossela, has also tipped off the Silicon Alley Insider as to the operating system requirements of Office 14, and Windows Vista / 7 will still be optional. The Office and Windows teams now work completely independent of each other, and I’m sure the Office guys are simply hoping to avoid the depressing Halo effect that requiring a new operating system can have on sales. With Office 14 delayed until sometime in 2010, will this give businesses even more reasons to stick with XP? If the productivity software these companies rely on still works just as well in a legacy operating systems, do companies have enough incentive to move to Windows 7? Corporate IT professionals are typically big fans of the status quo, and are usually against operating system migrations unless they can prove the value.
So will this slow down business adoption of Windows 7? And if you would be willing to use an ad supported version of Office 14? Let us know what you think.
During his annual “strategic update” with Wall Street analysts, Steve Ballmer made it very clear that Office 14 will not launch in 2009. Normally outside of the business community, few would take notice of this. But with the high profile beta of Windows 7 igniting a passion in both raging Microsoft fans and Mac / Linux converts alike, a delay on the Office side should have everyone concerned. The reason for this is simple; Office releases usually follow operating system launches extremely closely. Windows XP & Office XP both shipped together in 2002, and Windows Vista & Office 12 shipped together in January 2007 as well. Even though some versions of Office have released in-between operating systems, if we simply rely on history as a guide we won’t be seeing Windows 7 until 2010.
Microsoft released an alpha version of its new office suite back in January, and rumors were swirling that Office 14 would indeed come in 2009, rumors Steve Ballmer has now put to rest. With an open beta not planned until sometime in the summer, it seems likely that the RC (release candidate) version would push well into the fourth quarter and see an early 2010 release.
Now that we know Windows 7 development is far ahead of Office, will Microsoft delay the launch in order to have a concurrent release? Or will it break with tradition in order to capitalize on the good will that has been building since the release of the beta. Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
What will the next version of Microsoft Office look like? Leaked screenshots of an alpha version recently released to testers suggest that, in short, ribbon menus rule. However, the Office 14 ribbon menus seem to have been influenced by the ribbon menu used in some of Windows 7's accessories, rather than being simply a rehash of Office 2007's version.
How long before we'll have a release version? According to alpha testers cited at Neowin.net, Microsoft is looking at a 2009 release and - you guessed it - the suite might be called Office System 2009. However, with the Microsoft roadmap unearthed earlier this month showing "2009" and "12-31-2009" for release dates, maybe it's too early to worry about the name.