Microsoft confirmed this week that the release date for Office 2000 has slipped to the first quarter of 1999, though they refuse to admit that its behind schedule because the claim to have never announced a release date. While this is technically true--Microsoft rarely "announces" official release dates, Microsoft officials have publicly mentioned late 1998 as the expected release date for Office 2000 all year. Sam Jadallah, a Microsoft VP, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's president, and Office Product Manager Andrew Dixon all said that Office 2000 would be available by the end of 1998, for example. On the other hand, when was the last time Microsoft shipped a product on the first date they've mentioned publicly?

"We haven't been public on timing," said Matthew Price, a group product manager for Office, obviously dismissing the words of several co-workers and his direct boss. "Some analysts are saying Q1, and we're saying, yeah, that's about right, but we're not sure."

Price says that Office is on a two-year revision cycle and, certainly, a Q1 1999 release would place the shipment at exactly two years after Office 97. The first beta of Office 2000 shipped to 20,000 testers last month and Price says the company want to make sure testers get enough time with the product before it is released