Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office 2007 will ship some time between February and April 2009.
That's not a guess (educated or otherwise); that's the word straight from the Office team, via the Office Sustained Engineering blog.
According to an October 22 posting to the blog, Microsoft is gearing up to invite a group of select testers to the beta for both the client and server versions of Office 2007 SP2.
Among the new features coming in the desktop SP are previously announced file-format changes -- specifically support for Open Document Format (ODF), Microsoft's own XML Paper Specfication (XPS) and PDF. SP2 also will add improvements to Outlook calendaring reliability and improved Outlook performance overall; improvements to Excel's charting mechanism; the ability for Visio to export UML models to an XML file compliant with the XMI standard; and an uninstall tool for Office client service packs.
The Server version of SP2 adds improvements to enterprise content-management; improvements to the processing status approvals in Project; and improvements to read-only content databases and index, the blog posting added.
Microsoft released SP1 for Office 2007 in December 2007, a number of months earlier than many had been ledby Microsoft to expect.
I found this part of today's posting on SP2 to be quite interesting:
"Historically, we [the Office team] have waited to communicate details about service packs until their release (or very shortly before). As we communicated with SP3 for Office 2003 and SP1 for the 2007 Office System, we will be taking steps to increase transparency and visibility into the Office servicing model at the request of our customers. To that end, we would like to start sharing some details into what will be included in SP2 for the 2007 Office system. This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything included in this service pack and we will share more details prior to the final release, but we want to start communicating to customers what they should be aware of at a high level."
I wonder if the Office unit's willingness to start talking publicly about SP2 will end up influencing the Windows team at all. The Windows team is believed to be ready to start testing SP2 for Vista and SP2 for Windows Server 2008 within the next few weeks, even though the team refuses to comment on its schedule or the expected features. All customers -- not just a small, select few beta testers -- want and need to know what kinds of features and fixes are on the Microsoft product roadmaps.
(Thanks to WinBeta for the pointer to Microsoft's Office 2007 SP2 posting.)