Microsoft is scrambling to get out its replacement operating system for Vista to bring up its revenues. The replacement, Windows 7, will try to get corporate America and the government weaned away from XP. Vista has largely failed to meet expectations. It is slower than XP with many annoying features, like UAC, User Account Control. That's not to say Windows 7 will be much better. It will have UAC only with four choices instead of two.
In an effort to get Windows 7 out by Q3 2009, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, announced that a new version of Office will NOT be released with Windows 7. This is a switch from previous releases where both were released at the same time to enhance both revenue streams, and signals a separation of operating sytem and Office development.
This separation is real, and led to several interesting developments. You will not have to have Windows 7 to run Office 14. It will still be supported on XP. Office 14 will have a new format that will support XML-based file format Open Office XML (ODF). Microsoft has been fighting against this to try to keep to its own Open Document Format (OOXML). It looks like it will give in on this one.
And in a big twist, Stephen Elop, Microsoft Business Division Chief announced that Office 14 may offer a FREE ad supported version. In other words, you can get it for free, if your willing to look at ads while you work. Elop said it was to fight piracy, but we think that the complete $400 plus package of Office from Microsoft is under a lot of pressure from OpenOffice.org. Sales must be hurting given OpenOffice.org is free. Elops sees it has a chance to get upgrade revenues later on. I guess, if the ads are annoying enough, people will spring for the $200-$500 to upgrade, but we don't think so. Hopefully, the ads will replace the ribbon. 🙂
Office 14, the new release, now will not be released until 2010. In the meantime, we thought we'd tease you with some advanced shots of the new Office 14. These are compliments of the Office 14 Alpha release and was leaked by the Russian web site, Wzor. We know, we know, the images are small, if you like an even closer look try here.