Today we are announcing the details behind the upcoming 2007 Microsoft Office system products. We had previously been referring to it as Office "12", but we now have an official name and there is a ton of other information now available about the packaging options too. We've been blogging about this stuff for a long time now, and I think most of you (especially those on Beta 1) realize how huge this upcoming release is. This really is the most significant release of Office in over a decade (and it's been awesome to work on over the past several years). So now for those of you who were wondering when we were going to stop calling it Office '12' (I've also seen people making fun of us for always putting the 12 in quotes) can be satisfied. :-).

There are already a lot of folks using Beta 1, and I've had a ton of great questions from people building solutions on top of the new file formats. If you are interested in learning more about the 2007 Microsoft Office, you can go to the Office preview site: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx That's a great place to get more information, and you can even sign up to receive the Beta 2 when it comes out later.

One of the key points that you'll notice is that the 2007 Office system release has some updates to the packaging options available. The big goal in this was to really target and help out specific audiences. For instance, there are specific options for enterprise customers and others for home users, all based around their needs (instead of the "one size fits all" approach).

There are 3 new offerings that I wanted to call out:

  • For volume license customers new capabilities in Office Professional Plus 2007 (an updated release of Pro EE) will include e-forms and ECM support, as well as the addition of Office Communicator
  • Another option for volume license customers is the new Office Enterprise 2007 will build on the Professional Plus and integrate Groove and OneNote to deliver advanced collaboration and mobility solutions
  • For the retail folks, the new Office Home and Student 2007 (an updated release of Student & Teacher Edition) don't require a student or teacher in the household and will replace Outlook with OneNote

There are also two new applications that you might have already heard about:

  • Office SharePoint Designer 2007 is a new offering that will help people create and customize SharePoint Websites and it also is great for building workflow-enabled applications on the SharePoint platform (This is cool, it's is partially based on FrontPage technologies)
  • Office Groove 2007 which is an updated release of the Groove Virtual Office software. If you aren't familiar with Groove, you should really check it out. It helps enable teams to work together inside collaborative workspaces, regardless of their location or connectivity.

We have the Office developer conference coming up in a month, and the Beta 2 release coming up as well, all leading into the release. And with all of that, we also have all the work we're doing in Ecma to standardize the XML formats and to ensure that the file formats are fully documented and there are no barriers to entry. It's going to be a really exciting year.

-Brian