During his annual "Strategic Update" briefing with Wall Street analysts on February 24, CEO Steve Ballmer said Office 14 won't be shipping in 2009.
"Office 14 will not be this year," Ballmer told analysts.
Microsoft officials have been careful not to provide a ship-date target for the next version of Office. However, last year, more than a few times execs slipped up and indicated Office 14 would ship in 2009. Just a month or two ago, Microsoft reps were telling corporate customers that Office 14 would ship in either late 2009 or early 2010.
Microsoft released an alpha version of Office 14 -- which includes a new Office for Sales SKU -- in January to selected customers. A first beta is looking like this summer, according to sources with whom I'm spoken recently. Microsoft is aiming to release Office 14 client and SharePoint Server 14 together. It also is aiming to ship the next version of Office Communications Server, tentatively known as OCS 2010, next year, as well.
Office not shipping until 2010 makes for an interesting launch season in the coming months.
Windows 7 is still tracking to be released to manufacturing by the third quarter of 2009, sources said. Will Microsoft delay the "official" launch of Windows 7 to time it with Office 14 in early 2010? Or has Microsoft decided it doesn't really matter whether it launches Windows 7 and Office 14 together (even though many business users prefer to deploy new Windows and Office releases together)?