Microsoft renames Office beta

The next version of Microsoft Office, known as Office 11, is likely to be renamed Office 2003 from the release of the second beta...

The next version of Microsoft Office, known as Office 11, is likely to be renamed Office 2003 from the release of the second beta version early next month, sources have claimed.

The naming of the productivity application suite would be in line with other Microsoft products. Earlier this year, Microsoft renamed its Windows .net Server - which is due to launch in April - Windows Server 2003.

Microsoft released the first beta version of Office 11 last October. A second beta version will be made available internally at Microsoft next week, followed by release to testers on 6 March, the sources said. The final product should be out mid-year.

A Microsoft spokeswoman in the UK confirmed the second beta version is due soon, but declined to confirm the name change.

Irwin Hunter, product manager for Office at Microsoft in the Netherlands, said the "Office 2003 name is on the table", but had not been finalised.

Microsoft marketing staff from around the world will meet at the Microsoft campus in the US, for training on the new Office product next week. Although the Office 2003 name has already been spotted in early builds of the new software, the company could still decide to change it.

Most of the applications in the new version of Office, the successor to Office XP, will look and act much the same. However, there are some big changes, with enhanced collaborative tools and support for XML (Extensible Markup Language) being the most important ones.


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