Redmond (WA) - Microsoft today announced that it has completed the code for the latest version of its business software suite, Microsoft Office 2007, confirming its availability to businesses this month, and general release to consumers by early next year.
Microsoft says it has sent the software package code to be mass produced, known as the release to manufacturing (RTM) process. According to Microsoft, this marks a "critical step" in confirming the availability of the product to businesses by 30 November, barely meeting the previously announced November release date. The software giant also said general availability for consumers will follow in "early 2007".
Office 2007 is the first update to Microsoft's business software suite in four years. The new version gives users a complete visual overhaul, new functionality, and more customization within documents, especially for Excel.
The release of Office 2007 will be complementary to Windows Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, which will launch both its business and consumer versions alongside Office 2007. Office 2007 pricing is set to range from $149 for the student edition to $679 for an "ultimate" package.
Windows Vista was released as final release candidate on October 6. Microsoft will begin distributing the Business edition of the operating system by the end of the month. The consumer versions of Vista are scheduled to be released to manufacturing this month with a general availability of the software planned for January 2007.