Microsoft has put back the general release of the Office 2007 productivity suite to “early 2007” with the result that some Microsoft volume licence holders may miss out on the upgrade under their contracts.
Roy Illsley, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said this could hit some organisations that had taken out Software Assurance towards the end of 2003 expecting to get the right to deploy an updated version of Office during the three-year licence. The postponement would particularly hit organisations planning to use Office 2007’s new business intelligence, he added, and they might now start looking at other suppliers to deliver these features.
Microsoft had previously said that Office 2007 would definitely be ready for all customers from January next year, in tandem with the new Windows Vista operating system. After previously saying it expected to finish the code for Office 2007 by this October, the company now says the code will not be ready “until the end of the year”. The company cited performance problems for the delay after studying test versions of the package.
While Microsoft is still working towards a November release of Windows Vista to large companies with volume licences, it is unclear whether the Office 2007 delay will scupper this date.
Many companies would like to test both products together before rolling them out. The delay in Office 2007 may well lead to Microsoft delaying Vista too – something the company has not ruled out.