Microsoft has long planned to ship Office 12 simultaneously or “nearly simultaneously” with <A title=”Windows “ href=”” target=_blank Longhorn??>Longhorn</A>, its next major Windows version. However, Longhorn will RTM in May 2006, and Office won’t be completed until late 2006, as shown below. Some of the internal documentation I’ve seen suggests that Microsoft will actually delay the public availability of Longhorn until Office 12 can ship, because Office 12 is such a major component of the Longhorn wave of products. I guess we’ll have to see how that pans out. But in the meantime, here’s the Office 12 delivery schedule:

Office 12 public disclosure: May 2005
Microsoft plans to begin unveiling the Office “wave 12 pillars” to key customers in May 2005, the earliest in an Office version’s lifetime that the company has ever done so.

Beta 1: October 2005

Beta 2: First half of 2006
This will be available as a public beta as well.

Beta 3: Mid-2006
This will be available as a public beta as well.

RTM: Late summer 2006

General availability (GA): October 2006


Screenshots: /Blog/gallery/37.aspx