After the usual long gestation period, Office 2007 has gone ‘gold’ or ‘RTM’, released to manufacturing. That means the developers have finished their work for a while and Office 2007 is off to be made into disks and retail boxes.

Corporate and MSDN customers are scheduled to get Office 2007 as a download from 30 November while retail boxes will be available in January. Windows Vista will be launched in the same timeline.

There’ll be a big ‘two-pronged’ marketing push but you do NOT need Windows Vista to use Office 2007. Expect plenty of talk about the ‘advantages’ of getting both Vista and Office 2007

The new interface is good and nowhere near as scary or ‘big’ as many Office Watch readers seem to think.

The new document format is a good move but the transition will be messy for you and the people you work. We look forward to seeing the release of the conversion and compatibility tools to see how easy Microsoft will make that process.

The big question is value for money. Office 2007 isn’t cheap especially with the ‘Home and Student Edition’ omitting Outlook – to get the main 4 programs (Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook) is not a trivial upgrade.

You’ll see plenty of glowing reviews about Office 2007 but keep in mind that the reviewers aren’t paying for the software. It is too easy to forget the price paid for those new features. ( Mea Culpa: It’s a trap we’re as guilty of as anyone at times.)

Office 2007 is an improvement but we’re not sure that it’s worth the money Microsoft is asking for it.



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