Even though Microsoft has yet to release a public test build of Office 14, it is tracking for a 2009 release and will likely be named Office 2009.
Microsoft didn't issue a press release announcing its plans. In fact, the company has been steadfast in refusing to provide a date for when the next version of its Office family will ship. A few previous leaks have pointed to 2009 as the target date, however.
The latest information on Office 14's scheduled ship date comes from Microsoft's Podcast for SharePoint (PKS) Q&A on the CodePlex site. From the Q&A (which I expect Microsoft to edit shortly after I post this, so as to remove references to 2009):
Q: What features of PKS will be part of SharePoint 2009? A: The SharePoint 2009 feature set has not been publicly disclosed yet. We know the video storage story will be improved.
Q: Tagging is a future SharePoint feature - how would that future feature be compatible with the custom one developed here? A: The answer is unknown at this point and will be better understood when the first public release of SharePoint 2009 is available.
Update: As predicted, the references to SharePoint 2009 are now gone. There's now a note addressed to me on the Q&A site. Make of it what you will. It says:
Note to Mary Jo: honest mistake on my part, this Q&A is a transcript of a LiveMeeting conversation with our TAP customers... I should have corrected the SharePoint 2009 reference and for mysterious reasons haven't, so thanks for pointing it out! :) I honestly have no idea how the next release of sharepoint will be named. I promise. Thanks for your interest in PKS. Cheers, Ludo
I've heard recently that private builds of Office 14 are circulating among external Microsoft customers and partners. The Office team traditionally holds its code close to the vest and doesn't release public betas until the feature set is set in stone.
The latest date proof has me wondering whether Microsoft will attempt to launch Windows 7 and Office 14 in tandem in late 2009. I had been hearing that the two products might launch separately in the next go-around. But if both end up ready to ship in 2009, who knows?
Do you think Microsoft should ship Office 14 and Windows 7 together? Will the release timing of these products affect your deployment plans?