Microsoft giveth, and Microsoft taketh away. Last week Microsoft announced that the shipping date of the upcoming Microsoft Office 2007 suite of productivity applications, including new versions of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, were going to be pushed back a few months from the October 2006 date that it announced in March to “end of the year 2006” for volume licensees and retail versions should appear “early 2007.” Microsoft claims that the announcement is to give developers more time to respond to and encorporate feedback and suggestions from the Office 2007 Beta 2 release a few months ago, from which Microsoft reportedly attained a wealth of information from users who gave the office suite an official spin for their daily work. There are rumors that Microsoft is aiming at a joint Windows Vista, Office 2007 simultaneous launch, but those rumors go unconfirmed, and in fact a Vista spokesperson is quoted as saying that “The (Office 20007) announcement today does not impact Windows Vista timing.”
At the same time, however, Microsoft announced that you can “test drive” Office 2007 at their website; take it out for a spin on your own to explore the new “ribbon” menu and function system built into the interface, and try some of the other new integrated features in the office suite. Lifehacker took a screenshot tour of it here: [ Lifehacker :: Test Drive Office 2007 ]
They explain that the test drive is a little hard to get started and requires that you use Internet Explorer (of course) but once you’ve got it started, it’ll give you a good feel for how to get around the new applications, but most importantly gives you an opportunity to try out the “ribbon,” love it or hate it.