In line with Monday’s rumor, Microsoft has formally branded the upcoming release of Office that had been codenamed “Office 12″ as “Office 2007″. The press release is here along with Microsoft Word documents with details on the various packages (SKUs) to be offered, and the estimated retail pricing.
Some items of note:
FrontPage is replaced by Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 and Microsoft Expression Web Designer which are both said to be based on FrontPage technologies. SharePoint Designer is new and we have previously discussed the Expression products here. I won’t wax nostalgic about the history of FrontPage except to say that I always found it a useful web site file manager and WYSIWYG HTML editor despite its quirks and the disdain of geeks who like to program close to the metal. Even today, most non-Microsoft web hosting packages offer FrontPage support which reflects its popularity and how it managed to retain its cross platform heritage over the years. We’ll have to see how the new tools work out, but my prejudice is against SharePoint for anything except intranet use in an all Microsoft shop, so I expect that my general preference would be Web Designer.
Groove joins Office with the announcement of Microsoft Office Groove 2007, Microsoft Office Groove Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Groove Enterprise Services for hosted deployments. All are only available through volume licensing which seems interesting given that Groove’s original claim to fame was small group collaboration through P2P sharing. There’s also a new Office Live Groove subscription service for SMBs. That would spice up the rather mundane Office Live story.
New Microsoft Office Forms Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007. Details are sparse, but presumably these are respectively central servers for InfoPath clients and the project portfolio management technology acquired last year with UMT.
New Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access A web based version of Microsoft’s business IM client.
New Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 and an Enterprise CAL. These new versions have everything but the kitchen sink.
There’s lots to chew on here and I expect a wave of punditry over the next few days.
Update: Jay Greene at BusinessWeek online says that the release of Office 2007 has slipped six to eight weeks to the 4th quarter.