I'm proud to announce that last Friday, November 3 at approximately 2:30 PM, we signed off on build 4518.1014 as the 2007 Microsoft Office system and released it to manufacturing.

This was followed by a ship party for everyone in Office including a few minutes of speeches, the traditional sounding of the RTM siren, and plenty of champagne (much of which I ended up wearing.) The rain even stopped for a few hours!

You can read the official press release here

This release has been such a great pleasure to work on. It was more than three years ago when Julie walked into my office (I barely knew her at the time) and asked if I wanted to come over to the user experience team to help figure out if there was something better than menus and toolbars. I had no idea what an adventure I was about to embark on!

Three years later and we've shipped a product that I'm so proud of.

In the near future, we'll be sharing more of the research we've been doing on Beta 2 and B2TR deployments around the world. Just last week, we got back the most recent round of data from ~4000 people in long-term enterprise deployments of Beta 2 in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The results are positive beyond what I would have dared to dream.

To those of you who have been active in the beta program and here on the blog, and to everyone who sent feedback on the betas, thank you. Your feedback truly made the product better than it ever could have been without you.

To the app teams and partner teams around Office and at Microsoft who helped make this release possible, thank you. This couldn't have happened without your ideas and support.

And to those of you on the UEX team, whose ingenuity, consummate engineering, missed weekends, and tireless attention to detail made it all possible—thank you! We did it!

How to get it?

Office 2007 products will be available at retail early in 2007, so you'll be able to get your hands on them soon. Business customers will be able to get Office 2007 through the volume licensing program before the end of the year.

If you're running the Beta 2 Technical Refresh, the good news is that you can keep using that build for quite some time: the client build expires on March 31, 2007, and the server products expire on May 15, 2007.

What's Next?

Between now and retail availability, I'm going to do a series of posts documenting the creation of the Office 2007 user interface from the earliest prototypes all the way to the final product.