Microsoft went beta crazy today and has released Windows Vista Beta 2 and a new build of Longhorn Server to testers and has made 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 2 available to anyone who wants to take it for a spin. The Vista release is less exciting to me because most people still can't get it and, based on early reviews, it's still in need of some work to be considered reliable enough for daily use, even on a test machine.
Office 2007, oh excuse me, 2007 Microsoft Office system (yes, that's the official name - small "s" and all) is another story. I've been working with the beta extensively, especially with Outlook and OneNote, er... 2007 Microsoft Office Outlook and 2007 Microsoft Office OneNote... and they are close to daily use quality if you're brave and plenty stable enough to install on a test bed system if you're cautious (which is almost always a good thing).
Let me express my horror and dismay at the naming the marketing wonks at Microsoft have come up with here. My blogging pals Ed Bott and Jason Clarke agree with me that this is an utter waste of time and money. No matter how hard Microsoft tries to insist on this new naming scheme, I predict that virtually everyone will simply call it Office 2007 anyway. It's a sign of something amiss when marketing folks think they can rewire the linguistic habits of their customers instead of leveraging the brand the market has expressed comfort with. The new name is doomed... doomed I tell you.
If you want to download Office 2007 (there! I said it!), go to the preview site and have at it. Downloads were working fine this morning, broken early this afternoon, and hopefully will be back in operation by the time you read this.