New proof: Office 14 slated for 2009

New proof: Office 14 slated for 2009

Summary: 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.


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?

Topics: Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Not a factor in deployment plans

    Most of my customers are still on XP and Office2003. It will take more than lipstick and sharepoint to get them to move, even with new hardware to replace the old. They don't see the value proposition for anyone except Microsoft shareholders.

    I don't completely understand the "fear" of Office2007 but it's out there. And Vista is not embraced at all. It's too bad, Office2007 is really nice and I use it for my work, but I have to remember to save everything in older formats for my customers. Vista doesn't seem to have a killer app that makes it a must have and it does not appear to solve anyone's problems so it's viewed as a needless option.
  • Bring back the damn menu bar

    Considering Office has basically a GIG of code, I can't comprehend why you can't switch between the ribbon and the menu. Crazy.
    • Did you read this?

      It explains why the Ribbon and why menus had to die. If you listen to the whole presentation with an open mind, I think you may understand better why the UI changes were inevitable. Get the .wmv option - better than just the PowerPoint.
      Confused by religion
      • Not disputing the ribbon for it's own sake

        The ribbon is all fine and dandy. The guys at MS feel it's a better way to organize increasingly complex features - great.

        The problem I have is that Word has done what 99% of people want it to do since Office 97 days. Load up the programs. The menus are basically identical in 97, 2000, 2002, XP and the features are basically the same.

        Given that Microsft isn't adding 100 completely new menu items that needed organizing, I'm really having trouble seeing what changed between 1997 and 2008 ** given that the features are basically identical ** .

        And given that, and the bloated codebase, there was no reason not to offer a "classic mode" to access the features that have been there for the last decade.
        • The dreaded "Ribbon"

          I can completely understand why so many people are upset at the ribbon. It looks different and often, in the consumer arena, difference is resisted.

          I remember when I first laid hands on Office '07 my first thought was "where's the file menu and print?" I didn't like that much. Of course I know about [Ctrl]+[P], but I was resisting the difference.

          Also, I had no idea the Office logo was a button. It sure didn't look like one.

          But I have to tell you, the more I use it the more I like the layout. About ninety-five percent of what I do or need to do is on that initial ribbon. And I really like the reposition of envelope printing lumped in with the mail merge features in "mailing." It just makes more sense. Finally, mail merge itself is easier to follow. And though, in reality, the steps required are no fewer than before it seems like there are fewer steps to mail merge. The merge wizard makes this step rich feature a great deal easier than it's ever been in the past.

          I really like that. For once I think Microsoft has made an unpopular change that will actually start to grow on the consuming public and ultimately be good for the end user.

          So for once (and likely the only time) good for Microsoft.
          • Help where's the help menu!

            Oh there it is
            that tiny little question mark in the upper right corner
            --- that is the most common call I get about Office '07
        • Say NO to legacy

          Why should Microsoft include the old menu bar and continue to make the same mistake they've made so many times in the past. The reason many of Microsoft's products are so huge, some would say bloated, is because they always two to keep legacy stuff around.

          Honestly, anyone who can't get accustomed to the ribbon interface probably shouldn't be using a computer in the first place. Technology will always constantly be changing, so whether you're a software engineer developing on the Windows platform or an end-user who uses Office, you must accept and embrace change in order for technology to move forward.

          Technology will move forward and continue to progress whether someone likes it or not, so it's either adapt and learn or be left behind.
    • Get Search Commands

      If you have ribbon troubles, like I did at first, check out SearchCommands. Very very cool.
    • Menu bar and ribbon

      Or even to be radical, allow a user to have both turned a menu bar and ribbon. A user should be able to do more than add some icons to the quick toolbar thingy at the top. So more customisation, as there was pre-2007 - and I want File, Edit, View, Insert, Format etc. The menu bar - and the standard commands - was not a Microsoft invention. But they sure have made heaps of money from them. I want them back, because it works, and <Alt><O><P> is format a paragraph. I know what to do. Not damned. Just productive.
  • How about a request list for new features in Office 2009

    Hopefully MS will be a little more receptive to requests for Office 2009. However since they refuse to listen to a petition by 200,000 end users reqarding Windows XP - why should I expect them to be any less pig headed about Office 2009.

    I'm not saying there hasn't been some improvement in office but there are some major items they've been ignoring for a DECADE now - how much longer should we wait until they include them?

    I'll post a few anyways just to work the crowd into a frenzy.

    What app is the most used in Office by top level execs down to entry level admins - OUTLOOK

    Features needed for Outlook 2009
    1. Faster e-mail access when browsing e-mails - when I hop from one hotmail message to the next even if it says it has finished with send and receive it is very slow particularly with html formatted e-mails. Even on Exchange 2007 with TONS of memory and fast processors I still get this complaint from end users - the issue is in Outlook for the most part - you can tweak things to improve performance with Exchange 2007 but the weak link is OUTLOOK.

    2. Open more than one Outlook profile simultaneously - I know you can have more than one account in a profile but how about more than one profile? I know many many people with at least 4 e-mail accounts and they tend to put hotmail and personal e-mails into one profile and business into another profile. I also support admins who prefer to open their bosses e-mail in a seperate profile even though you can open a second exchange account in the same profile.

    3. Profile migration utility for outlook - it would be great if I could easily copy my reading layout, my security settings, my junk list, my signature, my nickname cache file and my e-mail pst or OST with all mail server settings in a single click instead of copying things over individually - great for moving to a new PC.

    Access -
    Sadly underused as it is cumbersome. What are most people likely to use it for - some sort of inventory - store, personal, dvd collection etc. And what would any real inventory database include? PICTURES - why not just use excel if you are just making a list to sort. Access should come with the ability to use something like OLE with picture editor as it did in previous versions. Sure there is a rediculous amount of wasted space for JPGs using OLE in Access but I can't imagine someone hasn't thought of a way to improve it. You can install photo editor from a previous version of access to support JPGs, you can also use code to point to pictures without having to waste space. But who wants to do a lot of coding - should be easy for an enduser who didn't create the database to just drag pictures into the database or browse and select the picture. Strange they went backwards with the database technology in the current version of access.

    Word -
    Columns still a pain to configure and navigate - I can't understand why a 10 year old version of Word Perfect still has better column control than Word 2007.

    Word, Excel, Powerpoint - Ribbon bar
    I realize the ribbon bar isn't as it was originally designed - originally the ribbon was to be somewhat interactive and expand on the section you selected - probably the reason they call it a ribbon bar. It might be fine for new users of Office but all my old users -not age but experience don't want to waste their time on the newbie ribbon - why not just office menubar classic for people who have been using PCs more than 3 months. I have to say that 95% of the people whose PCs I set up prefer the classic taskbar for Windows. I don't understand why MS thinks there are a lot of 3 year old and 85 year old people who never used PCs before who would be best served by a new interface. I'm not saying people shouldn't have a choice of the new ribbon but they should be given the choice of the old icon bar particularly since many excel experts customize the bejeesus out of their menu bar.
    • good list

      That's a good list, Boe.

      I fear it's too late to request features, given that the final Office 14 sounds like it's coming out next year.

      But why not... anyone else have features they are wishing might show up in the next version of Office client or server? MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Oh well we'll wait another decade for MS to get it right

        I'm sure they are concentrating on important things that really add to the functionality of Office like transparent borders or animated icons. I just wish they'd include the fluff I'm asking for even though the real money is in eye candy. Vista sure proved that - oh wait, it DIDN'T!
      • Features please Mary

        In EXCEL;

        1. I'd like a graphic tool that shows the precedence of the spreadsheet's calculation tree: a sort of souped-up 'show precedents' and 'show dependents' option. This tool would also normalise the flow so one can understand the order. It would also offer suggestions for sections to be parallelised.

        2. I'd like PARALLEL VBA (hereinafter PVBA)... not be forced to write separate XLL's in C to take advantage of multithreading. It's OK to do PARALLEL EXPRESS C#, PARALLEL EXPRESS C++ and PARALLEL EXPRESS VB too.

        3. I'd like M$ to talk to NVIDIA and hide all the tricky bits in CUDA so that I can write PVBA applications to use my graphics cards' stream processors.

        Once EXCEL/NVIDIA is sorted we can start on all the other apps and graphic cards!
      • Real Styles!

        I'd like MS Office to actually support styles correctly - like does, or Wordperfect, or Abiword, or... Something like, when I update 'standard' style settings, I actually get a document-wide instantaneous update, with no forgotten piece or (even worse) a complete document corruption and Word crashing.


        Actually, that's what took me to OOo in the first place: typing your thesis on a word processor that crashes when you want your footers to look slightly different from the rest of the text gets annoying really fast. It's even worse when footers' automatic numbering doesn't number correctly.

        It would also be nice to see the FLOOR() and CEILING() functions (in Excel) be given a third parameter - to enforce use of the real value for the functions, not their absolute value; currently, CEILING(13.5,1) returns 14; if you do CEILING(-13.5,1) you should get -13 (closest integer of greater value) instead you get -14 under Excel...

        OOo (and other suites) fixes that by defining the function this way:
        CEILING(value:real, parameter:int,mode:bool) where, if mode is true, it uses the absolute value. If Excel could accept the same setting (with mode defaulting at true, for backward compatibility reasons), that would be quite useful.
        Mitch 74
    • Other Items To Add to the Wishlist ...

      1. The colored flags in Outlook ... they really need to come back. Easy to use, easy to find, show up next to all emails if you see the flags in any folder by default (flags are usually visible). The categories are okay but they are a pain to find, i don't know how to get them all to appear in every folder as a view, and it's not on by default and tough to find "Categories" on the internet as it took me a while to even find out what they were called. Perhaps make it an add on?

      2. I know it's a repeat but I miss my menu bar. The option to have it would be nice, even if it was an add on.

      3. Put "Save As ..." back to a default setting ... it's a pain to set up on each app at work, and it is a helpful feature at work, which one would assume that is the point of making office programs.

      4. On .docx, xlsx, and other new file names ... throw a select statement into the coding of the app. So If you try to open a .xlsx file in ANY version of office, it brings you to we a web page to get the conversion tool automatically added to your office, and the friendly warning of you might lose file format and features, blah blah blah. And I know it's already bloated but one select statement in the code takes barely any room and makes it alot more user friendly.

      5. Backwards compatibility and no new file names? So all versions of office can talk to each other.

      6. Access ... allow for "the 2003 view" so you don't need to change 50% of the setting to get it ... and make permanently enabling macros easier to find and less hidden.

      7. I don't know what powerpoint has now ... but i have not had to use it at work yet ... but I am sure i'd have stuff to suggest if I have used it.
    • Access only plays an end-user tool on TV...

      Access is a full-blown application development system. Yes, an end-user can use it to create rough ad-hoc things, but it's capable of so much more.

      As for Word and the Ribbon, it's God's gift to wonderful. :) The whole point of the ribbon is to make features discoverable and *easy to get to*. Word can do just about anything you want, but most users have no idea it has feature X which would make their lives so much simpler.

      With the Ribbon, now they do. :) Putting styles on the home pane of the ribbon was sheer genius as far as I'm concerned.
    • Fix issues before new features!

      Please finally fix bulleting and numbering! 90% of what I do are bullets or lists. That MS Word still cannot correctly handle bullets is a travesty.

      My biggest peeve in this is when you move or copy a subsection from on list to another it renumbers at that level across all lists in the document. grrr!

      Every other editor i have used gets this correct!
      • Yes! Fix bullets and numbering!

        Bullets and numbering in Word are disgraceful. They have been broken for many years and MS simply does nothing about fixing them.

        I spend a lot of time writing technical documents with multi-level numbering and no matter how hard I try, Word screws up the numbering as soon as you start to share the document with other authors.

        The only way to fix it at present is to write your own custom VBA macro to re-number lists. Surely after 20 years MS can get it right?
        Fred Fredrickson
        • Fixing bullets and numbering

          Microsoft probably feels it doesn't have to fix the awful 'native' numbering, because it has partners who create add-ins that DO get it right. Can't speak for Word 2007, but for 2003 the LegalMacPac add-in by Microsystems is used by most law firms, where outline numbering in lease and contract documents (among others)is absolutely critical. It works with custom styles that are stable, even with clients who don't have the software. They also have the package for 2007, but I haven't personally worked with it so can't really comment on it.
    • Access. splits presentation from data, excel does not...use more for.....

      analysis. Great tool and it's easy to push the presentation back to excel or all of the data too. But like good programming, excel is cumbersome with large amounts of data since it's essentially coupled to the presentation. <br><br>
      Access reports make more sense many times, and the detail is always there if you need it. Excel people need to be trained in Access, how to use it with Excel, and there would be much more use by those doing data analysis. <br><br>
      On the ribbon bar. There had been complaints for years about the menus with up to several sub menus being outdated and not efficient. <br><br>
      I find the ribbon a very welcome interface and for me it's just intuiative. It's context sensative to what you are working on and everything you need is close at hand, saving hundreds of clicks per document. To look at different formatting a quick mouseover does the trick. Things like text wrapping or image placement is a few clicks rather than a few menus deep and significant perperation. <br><br>
      I honestly don't see where people are having trouble unless it's those with the "No changes" mentality that simply cannot deal with change, even if it makes their jobs easier. They are usually the minority in my travels however.