Microsoft on Wednesday offered further information, including pricing details of the next version of Office due to lauch by the end of 2006.
The software maker boasts Office 2007's new features, including an all-new user interface and new XML-based file formats. On the desktop, the 2007 release will include new and improved software suites and applications for volume license and retail customers. Major productivity advancements will be experienced through a new, results-oriented user interface.
One of the biggest change for consumers is the replacement of Microsoft's Student and Teacher edition with a $149 Home and Student edition that can be used by all home users. Microsoft is also removing the Outlook e-mail and calendar program from that edition and instead is including its OneNote note-taking application.
The software maker also offered pricing details for some, but not all, of the new products. In general, Microsoft said both businesses and consumers should expect to pay about the same for the new Office as they have paid for past versions.
"We do not expect our customers to notice any significant change in our pricing," said Parri Munsell, a group program manager in Microsoft's information worker unit. Office Standard, for example, will sell for $399, while Office Professional will sell for $499. Also, as widely expected, the version formerly code-named "Office 12" will be known as Office 2007 when it ships in the second half of this year.
Microsoft released an initial beta of Office 2007 in November, with a second beta planned for this spring and the current beta version is available here