Microsoft officials confirmed first thing on November 6 that Office 2007 has gone gold. (The Softies aren't saying exactly when the product was released to manufacturing, but word is it happened on November 3.)
The team's work isn't done; now it's time for Microsoft to roll out new distribution, deployment and management tools to convince customers -- especially the usually recalcitrant business ones, for whom older versions of Office work just fine, thanks -- to upgrade. (Microsoft's Windows Vista team is equally focused on improving the customer deployment experience.)
Microsoft is claiming the new Office 2007 "includes the largest investment in deployment and management tools in the product’s history." On the list: Office Migration Planning Manager, Open XML Formats Conversion Toolkit, the Business Desktop Deployment 2007 Solution Accelerator and the Office Resource Kit.
And starting December 1, Microsoft will make available free, downloadable product trials via its recently revamped Office Online site, officials said. The new trials will be similar to the Online Test Drive that's already available to Office users.
Another piece of today's RTM announcement caught my eye. Micorsoft is introducing a new SMS Link for Outlook 2007 service as part of its Office 2007 release. "This new service allows Outlook 2007 users to connect with friends’, families’ and colleagues’ mobile phones by using SMS text messaging. It allows people to send and receive e-mail, contacts, appointments and tasks as text messages to mobile phones," explained Microsoft via a press release.
I wonder if the new SMS service is the rumored "Project Bronx" service about which Neowin.net reported earlier this year. A Neowin poster described Bronx as "an effort within Mobile Information Worker group that aims to bring Microsoft Office experience to all mobile phones using SMS." The poster said that Microsoft was soliciting testers for the technology, which will be part of the company's Office Live initiative.