Microsoft Readies Office 2007 Beta Shutdown

On Oct. 25, Microsoft will close the Office Preview Web site and remove the beta from its download servers. The Office 2007 beta has been available to public testers since May.

Also, the BetaPlace Web site -- which hosts newsgroup forums for products in testing -- will close Oct. 31 and migrate to the Microsoft Connect portal.

With no additional builds planned, Microsoft said it would release the suite to manufacturing -- what the Redmond, Wash. developer dubs "RTM" -- "in a few weeks" according to e-mail sent to testers. On Tuesday, a company spokesperson declined to specify the exact date, saying only that "we are on track to have Office in the hands of business customers by the end of this calendar year."

Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh, which was released more than a month ago, won't expire until March 15, 2007, Microsoft said in the e-mail. Earlier, Microsoft had pegged Feb. 1 as the go-dead date.

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"This should allow you to use Beta2TR until you can upgrade to the retail version," the e-mail read.

This summer, Microsoft pushed back the delivery date for the new suite, saying then that it would have the new product in the hands of volume licensees by the end of 2006, and in retail in early 2007.

The Office 2007 beta can still be ordered or downloaded from the preview site.