Despite Windows 7's release looming over the horizon, ZDNet has stated that Steve Ballmer himself said, "Office 14 will not be this year," in an interview with analysts at the Wall Street Journal. Keen readers will notice that Ballmer called it Office 14, and not Office System 2009 which it could possibly be named on release.
Many people thought that Microsoft would time the new Office revision along with Windows 7's release, as many businesses prefer to upgrade to a new OS and a new Office suite at the same time, but Ballmer has dashed all thoughts of this happening. However, it is still quite possible Microsoft may delay Windows 7 to bring the two releases to the public simultaneously. Undoubtedly many people would be rather upset if Microsoft decided to hold back a major operating system to wait for an office suite, but nobody knows for sure what will happen yet.
ZDNet's report said that a beta of Office 14 is expected this coming summer, with that news coming from Microsoft sources, and Microsoft released an Alpha version to selected customers in January. Microsoft is reportedly aiming to release Office 14 and SharePoint Server 14 alongside each other.
Be sure to check out the Office 14 Beta when it hits in summer.