November 11, 2005 11:06 AM PST

Office 12 moves closer to beta

Microsoft has notified potential testers that it expects to release the first beta version of Office 12 in the next few weeks.

"You will be provided with access to the Office '12' Beta software, documentation, and support within the next two to three weeks," Microsoft wrote in a letter to those accepted to take part in the technical beta testing. "But we wanted to let you know now that you have been accepted, so that you can make any preparations that you need."

The letter, sent this week, also outlined system requirements for the beta version, though Microsoft cautioned that the final requirements might vary. The software calls for a machine with Windows XP Service Pack 1 or Windows Server 2003, as well as a 512MHz processor, 256MB of memory and an 800-by-600-pixel screen or better.

FAQ
Looking into Office 12
What to expect from the revamp.

Microsoft has said that the first Office 12 beta version would come this month. The final version is planned for the second half of next year.

While Microsoft is still not giving out details of price or final features, it has talked about a number of changes that are coming with Office 12. These changes include a sweeping revamp of the program's user interface, improvements in business intelligence, enhanced collaboration and improved individual productivity, it has said. In addition to the core desktop product, a variety of server-based capabilities are in the works, though Microsoft has been fuzzy on the details.

A Microsoft representative said the letters to testers are a standard part of the beta process.

"We're really excited that beta 1 will be available soon," a Microsoft representative said in an e-mailed statement. "Securing technical feedback from select customers and partners is a key goal of beta 1."

The arrival of the beta invites prompted a flurry of discussion at a variety of Microsoft enthusiast sites including Neowin.

6 comments

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Curious....
... based on viewing a rather limited set of screenshots, Office 12
doesn't seem to be significantly different from previous versions.
In one sense, it's just a word processor, so just how different can
it get?

Maybe there are useful improvement in the functions. So I need
to wait until I can get a real copy to pay with. But right now, I
can't say that I am in any hurry. My versions of Office are quite
adequate, and spending more money for an upgrade does not
yet make sense.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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Earl
Didn't you read?? A prettier interface and better ways "to find your stuff". That'll be $299 please.
Posted by Gerry1981 (13 comments )
Link Flag
It is just a word processor
I remember owning a ball-point pen, that let you select red blue or green, by it's selector slide thingy on the top of the pen (I'm a geek OK - I have to own stuff like that). But no-one else (in the real world) bought them. People would rather have separate red & blue ball-point pens on their desk - and who uses green anyway.
So, WP have to be a an activity with a finite set of sub-tasks. It looks like one of the first major revenue streams to run dry, to me.
BUT - in a survey, M$ found that of all the features people wanted, many were already IN Office - but were so unobtrusive, that people hadn't noticed. Wonder if Office 12 will just intrude on your work, with adverts, promoting other features of the product ?

And finally, why do some application developers INSIST on putting basic text data in an Excel spreadsheet, when it would go quite nicely in a table in a Word document ?
Posted by (409 comments )
Link Flag
Who collaborates now !?!?!??!
What a crock! Most users just use Word and Outlook, financial types use Excel (most because they are forced to by work duties), a lesser few use PowerPoint to create, and hardly anyone uses Access. Those who have been forced to create webs use FrontPage.

Who the heck actually "collaborates" on documents ?!?!?!
Just another reason to force people to buy a newer PC. There must be a single hook in the code that stops an install for less than the prescribed processor.

AND: why the heck can't anyone check Outlook Contacts when another Outlook dialogue window is open !?!?!?!? Fix this screw up now !
Posted by eeee (672 comments )
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