Microsoft Delays Consumer Office until 2007

Microsoft confirmed yesterday that it won’t be releasing its next version of Microsoft Office to consumers until January 2007, to coincide with the consumer availability of its forthcoming Microsoft Vista operating system. The software will be released to business customers in October, 2006.

Windows editions of Microsoft Office include the company’s flagship productivity word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced Windows Vista wouldn’t be available to consumers until January 2007, after the end-of-year holiday buying season. Although some makers of consumer electronics and computer equipment may benefit from the move, for the most part observers believe Microsoft’s delay will hurt computer, software, and peripheral sales as consumers delay purchases of new computers, hardware, and software until Windows Vista is available.

Yesterday, Microsoft outlined a sweeping re-organization of some of its core units, including the groups handling Windows and MSN. Some reports state up to 60 percent of Windows Vista may need to be rewritten, and that Microsoft has been pulling programmers from it’s Xbox development team to address problems with Media Center features in the operating system.