Office goes gold. Here come the tools

Office goes gold. Here come the tools

Summary: The development work on Office 2007 is done, Microsoft confirmed on November 6.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.

TOPICS: Microsoft

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 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.


Topic: Microsoft


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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  • That's rude

    Besides, "here comes" is very late -- they've been posting here for a long time.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Thats Rude

      I aggree. Here comes... must mean a totally different thing is this part of the world.

      <a href="">Oz Designs</a>
  • Office RTMs

    That's what I told you last week.

  • And for the usually recalcitrant business ones

    for whom older versions of Office work just fine, what exactly will be their motivation to disrupt their operations, and budgets, to upgrade?
    • Motivation to "upgrade"?

      That's simple--Vista's WGA thingy will denounce you to Redmond if it detects an older Office.
      Henry Miller
      • ROTFLMAO !!!

        So much for the privacy act here in America .
        I'm Ye, the MS SHILL .
    • Of Course I Wil Be Bashed, But...

      There are SOME reasons to upgrade. There are some new GPO settings with the new version of Office (even more if you're stil using Office XP or earlier). There are also the more open source XML document formats for all Office applications, so you can take your Word-created document and import it into Office 2.0 if you like and it should work well. Plus, there is the new interface, which is IMHO a TON easier to use once you get used to it. For me, the new interface alone is worth the upgrade. I am tired of searching for all the features I typically use in a myriad of menus. I can add any often-used feature to a malleable toolbar at the top of my workspace and have it available immediately. One final chance, and another big one to me, is the dynamic udating of your document. Highlight a section in Word, for example and change the font. Your selection chances to the new font on-the-fly. If you don't like it, keep scrolling through the fonts untl you find one that fits the area. If you liek the default better, click off it and your text is unchanged. That dynamic changing (or not) of my document is just cool.

      Put it all together, and I think that it will be worth the upgrdae. Should everyone on the planet run out and get it? Not at all! If you're happy searching through a bunch of menus, then please don't but it! (That was tongue-in-cheek, of course.) Seriously, there is one compelling reason NOT to upgrade imeediately: If you have a bunch of custom toolbars in Word as many law firms for example do, you will definitely want to look at how those custom toolbars play in Office 2007. Of course, many of those toolbars are to apply custom styles, numbering schemes, etc which can be done easily in Office 2007, but it will still take some time and effort to get those sorted out, so planning a migration right away would not be for you.

      The bottom line is that this version will be as big a change as Office 97 to Ofice 2000 was, and people will do well to look into it sooner rather than later. At least get the demo in January and take a look. It's worth it.
      • Say WHAT?

        [i]There are also the more open source XML document formats for all Office applications, so you can take your Word-created document and import it into Office 2.0 if you like and it should work well.[/i]

        You don't really think that anyone is still running MSOffice 2.0 any more, do you? MSO95 is ancient, 3.1 requires an archaeological permit, etc. I don't think the MSDOS emulation in recent versions of MSWindows even supports it -- you'd have to run FreeDOS in an X terminal or some such to use it.

        Even if you [b]were[/b] still running 2.0, I guarantee you it wouldn't be able to import MS' new file formats -- 2.0 predates XML, much less all of the never-before-seen stuff in the new files (including the container format, which is brand-new and patented so you can't use third-party tools to extract it.)

        I don't see it.
        Yagotta B. Kidding
        • I think he meant OpenOffice 2.0

          But yes if you're still running MSOffice 2, you've most certainly have problems.
          • If so

            ... then he's still smoking something.

            OO.o v.2 doesn't read MSXML. At present, [b]nothing[/b] but MSOffice2K7 reads MSXML, and from the complexity and ambiguity of the spec that's almost certain to remain the case. It's basically an XML representation of the current memory dump stream files, with all that implies.
            Yagotta B. Kidding
          • minor correction

            "At present, nothing but MSOffice2K7 reads MSXML"
            Actually, Microsoft does have a converter that will allow previous Office versions (2000, XP, 2003) to read the 2007 MSXML formats.

            It's still in beta, but then again the only version of Office 2007 currently available to John Q Public is beta as well.
        • 2.0?

          To my knowledge, there's no such thing as MS Office 2.0. :-)
  • It is like New Year's Eve here!!!

    My rep brought the Gold Bits over. All of my MCSEs were so happy they immediately started crying. Right away I booked a vacation for myself and also told my MCSEs to prepare to work through the weekend to get Office 2007 RTM on everyone's desktop. Right now we are running about 35 different beta versions and I expect all of the upgrades to go flawlessly. I told my MCSEs "deploy and deploy without prejudice". I warned all other staff that we are not responsible if the untested upgrade procedures wipe out critical data. Our CFO is worried about losing year-end financials but I told him without Office 2007, our ROI would not go up and our TCO would not go down. As my rep says "deploy Office 2007, stock will go to heaven!". We are off for some early morning coffee and scones.
    Mike Cox
    • 'eh, 7.8... not your best effort Mike. (nt)

  • Upgrade? you jest.....

    yeah right, we haven't even completed the 2003 Office upgrade yet. The CFO's are choking on the cost of that as even our MS VAR has pulled the rug out, we can't even get 2003 licenses under out SA anymore....MS must be in bed with them as well..I guess I go back to the CFO's and ask for more $$$, oh well,..I was looking for a job when I came here......
  • As both a tester and developer for Office

    I have to be honest here and say that I think the upgrade to Office 12 will be very slow compared to previous versions.

    Indeed Office-12 has much to offer in the way of "sharing and colaborating" but the need to buy yet another box, Windows server, Sharepoint server, etc., etc. is going to give most everyone pause and ultimately reason not to upgrade.

    Additionally, the new User Interface while a "nice try" falls flat on its face IMO. The "ribbon" is a decent enough idea, unfortunately MS decided that you MUST change all your previous habits/knowledge by not including a "Classic" menu system. (Many learned keystrokes simply no longer work either.)

    From a developers stand point, this thing is a real PITA. Hey, everyone wants security but sheesh... Here is a hint Microsoft. If a user installs an Office add in it's fine to ask ONE TIME during the install if it's ok to run it, after that users do NOT want multiple warnings popping up constantly.

    Of course developers are still waiting on the object model documentation. MS recently released some of it but in about 50% of the cases when you look something up the documentation says, We haven't had the time to finish the documentation, sorry.

    Combine all these factors together and I see a very slow uptake for the product.
    • All right,

      What have you done with the real Don Rupert?
      Yagotta B. Kidding
      • Just call'em as I see'em

        • You're beginning to sound like Loverock Davidson here .

          This is spooky .
          I'm Ye, the MS SHILL .
    • PITA

      "From a developers stand point, this thing is a real PITA."

      Can't speak for that side of Office 2007. But this is going to be a PITA for support personel as well. That new interface is just going to confuse the crap out of most of my users. I'm going to keep 2003 for as long as I can on their machines.