Office 12 Branded as Office 2007

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==== In the News ====

- Office 12 Branded as Office 2007
- Microsoft Responds to EU Complaints

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

Office 12 Branded as Office 2007

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.

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:
http://www.winsupersite.com/article/faq/office-2007-faq.aspx

Microsoft Responds to EU Complaints

In a sharply worded 75-page rebuttal that was issued on the last day possible, Microsoft denied that it was not complying with the demands of its European Union (EU) antitrust case. The European Commission (EC) had previously given Microsoft until Wednesday to respond to complaints that it was moving too slowly in complying with a 2004 antitrust action against the company.

"The Commission has ignored critical evidence in its haste to attack the company's compliance," Microsoft said in a prepared statement. "Microsoft has complied fully with the technical documentation requirements." The EC had charged that Microsoft's technical documentation submission was inadequate after the ECs technical experts had reviewed it.

"Hundreds of Microsoft employees and contractors have worked for more than 30,000 hours to create over 12,000 pages of detailed technical documents that are available for license today," reads Microsoft's rebuttal. "In addition Microsoft has offered to provide licensees with 500 hours of technical support and has made its source code related to all the relevant technologies available under a reference license."

More specifically, Microsoft also addressed EC concerns about the quality of the documentation, noting that it had hired two technical experts of its own. Microsoft’s experts filed a 49-page report in which they said that Microsoft's documentation "meets current industry standards ... \[and is\] complete and accurate information, to the extent that this can be reasonably achieved, covering protocols, dependencies and implicit knowledge."

Microsoft also complained that the EC waited a long time to file its complaint about the technical documentation, alluding to its failed bid to delay the release of this week's rebuttal. "The \[European\] Commission waited many months before informing Microsoft that it believed changes were necessary to the technical documents, and then gave Microsoft only a few weeks to make extensive revisions," Microsoft’s rebuttal reads, adding that the EC and its technical experts never bothered to read the most recent version of Microsoft's technical documentation when they complained about its quality.

As you might remember, Microsoft faces fines of as much as $2 million a day if the EC finds the company guilty of not complying with its antitrust ruling. The EC says it will take a few weeks to review Microsoft's objections. "The Commission may then issue a decision for non-compliance ... imposing a fine on Microsoft for every day between 15 December 2005 and the date of that decision," an EC statement reads. "In the case of continued non-compliance, the Commission may then take other steps to continue the daily fine until Microsoft complies with the March 2004 decision."

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