Like a proud parent, I can say with relief that the 2007 Microsoft Office system has been released to manufacturer, meaning it is now complete.

We've confirmed our joint launch (with Vista and Exchange) on the 30th November.  I've been running the RTM build for a few days now and it is absolutely solid. 

Interestingly, in the press release we mention the SMS link:

Beyond overall code quality for RTM, other notable updates include the following:

SMS Link for Office Outlook® 2007. This new service allows Outlook 2007 users to connect with friends’, families’ and colleagues’ mobile phones by using SMS text messaging. It allows people to send and receive e-mail, contacts, appointments and tasks as text messages to mobile phones.

You can read more about the Outlook 2007 Mobile Service on office online here for the full explanations.  My summary below:

Tools - Account settings, click new:

Then you fill out your settings using the Office Online service where you enter your country and the wireless service providers who support the Outlook Mobile Service are listed.  At the moment the only providers seem to be in the US and include: Alltel, Cingular, Nextel, Sprint PCS, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

You can subscribe to updates about new providers in your region.

What is Outlook 2007 Mobile Service?

It's a new messaging transport in Outlook 2007 that lets you send and receive text messages.  It means that you can send an email to a few people, some of whom recieve it as email and some get a text depending on how you define them in your address book. 

Why is this useful?

You can automate reminders as text messages from your calendar and tasks which could be useful.  Rules work on the messages too so you can forward certain emails to your phone as texts.  This might be useful if you don't already get email on your phone but you can also have the rules forward certain items to another phone.  Thinking about that, there could be a fair number of interesting applications that would be easy to build that way where a critical email gets fanned out to a few people's mobiles as texts.

But how does it work?

Mobile carriers work with us so that they can route your emails to their sms gateway and if people reply, the return sms can be routed to your inbox or your phone or both, depending on your preference setting.  Whilst the service is free at our end, the mobile carriers may charge for the sending or receiving of text messages as usual.