Microsoft Rolls Out Office 12 Beta

the technical beta of Office 12

A broader beta will surface this spring and customers/partners can register for it at this Microsoft site.

Sources had told CRN a few months ago to expect a preliminary beta in November, with a broader code drop to come in March. Office 12, which will sport a new context-sensitive ribbon interface, is still expected to ship in second half of 2006.

Office 12 was initially to have been the Longhorn release of the market-leading productivity suite, but has since been adjusted to run on Windows XP and 2000, sources said. With this release of Office, Microsoft plans to bulk up the "Office System" , adding more server-based functionality and services to a franchise that has been historically client-centric. Component desktop applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, InfoPath. Servers include SharePoint Portal Server, Project Server and Exchange Server.

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