Microsoft lays out plans for new Office

Written by Wil Harris

February 17, 2006 | 11:58

Tags: #2007 #beta #live #office #vista #windows

Companies: #microsoft

Microsoft has been telling the world all about its plans for the new version of Office, its cash-cow productivity software.

Released in the second half of this year - probably before Vista hits in December - the official name is now Microsoft Office 2007 (whereas it had previously just been codenamed Office 12).

As with previous versions, there will be multiple Office packages depending on what you buy. The Home and Student versions will be as usual, while profession and enterprise versions will also include software for web collaborative work and corporate instant messaging software.

The changes to the latest version of the software are mostly interface based, rather than functionality. Gone are the days of menu bars and tool bars - Office 07 sports a unified tab bar that allows users to switch between functionality within an application.

To coincide with the launch of the suite, MS is also releasing Office Live into Beta. This is an online addition to the desktop software, which allows businesses to have shared web hosting and services. By creating their own internal website, businesses can save documents directly to a shared web drive, exchange information and share calendars etc. There will be a monthly charge for this service, which will have different benefits and features depending on how much you pay.

Office Live is part of the wider Windows Live web services platform that MS is rolling out to compete with web firms like Google and Yahoo.

Check out the further reading below if you're interested, and let us know what you think of Microsoft's plans over in the forums.

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