Office Twelve / 2007 introduces new SKUs, Servers, Licenses, Confusion

InfoWorld: Top News is reporting It’s official: Office ’12’ to become Office 2007.

(InfoWorld) – “Microsoftæis set to unveil on Thursday its long-awaited branding, packaging, and pricing for the next version of Office, which is expected to be available later this year… There will be seven Office suites in the 2007 Microsoft Office System, including one new enterprise package, Office Enterprise 2007, as well as two packages that have been rebranded…”

“Long awaited?” Now there’s something I’m sure their customers demanded: seven different versions! “Two packages have been rebranded?” They’re not sold under the Microsoft label? No, they’ve been renamed, so the package you buy is not the same as the one of the same name. Other industries call this bait-and-switch.

“To help companies purchase some of the new licenses that will be required to use Office 2007’s collaboration capabilities, Microsoft will offer a new Enterprise Client Access License (CAL). ..”

Oh, Microsoft is helping customers!

“Microsoft also will add new server software to the Office family. The company will combine its portal and content management servers into one server called Office SharePoint Server 2007… n addition, the company will offer Office Forms Server 2007… Another new offering, Office Project Portfolio Server, complements the existing Office Project Server…”

Now, Office is a “family.” I’m not sure which I find more disturbing: Microsoft’s packaging, or the reporter’s straight-faced use of MicrosoftSpeak without any objection.

Seven different versions. Dozens of applications, with various features disabled. Nightmarish new licenses. New servers. What a mess! All this to print documents, calculate spreadsheets and do other routine office work? I think Microsoft is overreaching here. They may sell to their captive audience, but new computer users whose machines come with Corel Office or OpenOffice are going to be hard-pressed to find a reason to switch.

If you haven’t tried OpenOffice.org, there’s no better time than the present!

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