Microsoft's revamped office productivity suite, previously codenamed Office 12, includes an exciting and innovative new UI. But when time came to name the product, Microsoft reverted to the conservative streak that has typified virtually every previous Office release. Microsoft has branded Office 12 as ... drum roll, please ... Microsoft Office 2007.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
Inspiring, the name is not. But Microsoft hasn't just announced the product branding. The company has also revealed which Office 2007 product editions it will sell, as well as the prices of each edition.
There will be seven versions of Office 2007, which mirrors the multi-product-version strategy the company is using with Windows Vista, its upcoming Windows OS upgrade. A new high-end enterprise version, dubbed Office Enterprise 2007, leads the pack. Below Office Enterprise 2007 are Office Professional Plus 2007, Office Professional 2007, Office Small Business 2007, Office Standard 2007, Office Basic 2007, and Office Home and Student 2007. The latter will replace the current Student and Teacher Edition. There are other changes as well: Office Home and Student 2007 drops Office Outlook but gains the Office OneNote 2007 note-taking application and can be used on as many as three PCs in any home, not just homes with students or teachers.
According to Microsoft, the new Office Professional Plus 2007 version will be aimed at volume licenses. This version will include standard Office applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook, as well as Office Communicator. Office Enterprise 2007 builds off of Office Professional Plus 2007 and includes OneNote and the Office Groove 2007 peer-to-peer collaboration solution. Like Office Professional Plus 2007, Office Enterprise 2007 will be made available only through volume licensing.
Pricing for Office 2007 is virtually identical to the previous version, Office 2003. For example, Office Standard 2007 will retail for $399, whereas Office Professional Plus 2007 will cost $499; Office Home and Student 2007 will continue to retail for $149.
Microsoft also revealed a bit of its Office Server strategy. In addition to the new version of SharePoint that will be rebranded Office SharePoint Server 2007, the company will also offer Office Forms Server 2007 for publishing forms to a server and Office Project Portfolio Server, which can work alongside the existing Office Project Server and gives users multiple project life cycle capabilities. Microsoft had previously announced an InfoPath Server as well.
Microsoft is using the SharePoint branding in other products as well. For example, the FrontPage Web page editor is being morphed into Office SharePoint Designer 2007 because of its close ties with SharePoint. The standalone SharePoint Designer application will retail for $299, Microsoft said.
For more information about Office 2007, the various product editions and standalone Office 2007 applications, please refer to my Office 2007 FAQ on the SuperSite for Windows: