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Microsoft to Delay Office 2007 With Vista

Amid the bombshell news from earlier this week that Windows Vista would be delayed, Microsoft has pushed back its Office 2007 release.

Microsoft said Office 2007 would be delayed until next year, a move that will coincide with the delay of the highly-anticipated Windows Vista operating system.

The software giant had originally planned to make Office 2007 and Vista available concurrently in the fourth quarter in late 2006.

The announcement is the latest blow to Microsoft's product schedule that has the tech industry abuzz, starting with the Vista delay news, followed by a shakeup in management of the Windows platforms, and now with the latest delay for Office 2007.

Microsoft said in a statement it now hopes to finish the code for Office 2007 this October and make it available to the business customers through the volume licensing program in October 2006.

The finished Office 2007 will roll it out at the same time Vista hits retail store shelves in January 2007.

Previously known as Office 12, Office 2007 is expected to have an increased emphasis on collaboration and sharing to render a workplace more productive.

The enterprise version of the software will include a new interface, Microsoft Office Communicator, a corporate instant messaging application; collaboration application Office Groove 2007, a byproduct of Microsoft's purchase of Groove Technology last year; and Office OneNote 2007, which is expected to replace Outlook's e-mail and calendar features.

The double delays of Vista and Office 2007 highlight just intertwined the products are, in Microsoft's philosophy to deliver a more complete user experience. The logic in some circles is that, if Vista is delayed, Microsoft might as well hold Office 2007 to improve it even more.

Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox said in his Microsoft Monitor blog that he wouldn't even consider the Office 2007 delay, well, a delay.

"Microsoft's Office nomenclature already tipped off a late-year release," Wilcox said. "Microsoft has a naming convention for what's 2006 or 2007.

"The alignment with Windows Vista makes sense. My expectation is a convergence around Windows Live, Office Live, Windows Vista and Office 2007." (Jupiter Research is owned by the same company as internetnews.com.).

The Office 2007 delay confirmation came a day after Microsoft shook up its Platform & Services division, tabbing Steve Sinofsky to run Windows.

Microsoft's official line is that the executive shake-up has been planned for months and had nothing to do with the Vista delays.