In an article just posted to the web, Paul Thurrott has shed some light on current beta and release dates for Microsoft Office 12 and Windows Longhorn:
It's been a quiet year for Longhorn, though that's all going to change, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Ballmer, interviewed by Gartner analysts during the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida this week, said that the Longhorn wave of products--which will include new versions of Windows, Microsoft Office, and Windows Server, among other products--is finally on track.
Ballmer touched on one of the more controversial Longhorn topics--the recently delayed WinFS storage engine--and noted that progress was being made, "just not good enough for the '06 [Longhorn client] delivery." Instead, WinFS will ship as a free add-on for Longhorn a year later, when Longhorn Server ships.
Ballmer also touched on issues such as security, the future of Microsoft Office, and the fact that Linux has yet to make any real inroads in the PC desktop market. But what Ballmer didn't deliver was a definitive product delivery timeline.
According to very recent internal schedules I've viewed, Longhorn and Office 12 are set to arrive concurrently on May 22, 2006. And the first Longhorn beta is set for February 16, 2005, the exact same Beta 1 date I first reported back in April. Naturally, this schedule could change--this is Microsoft we're talking about, after all--but it seems that the massive Microsoft infrastructure is finally starting to rumble to life. For beta testers and Windows enthusiasts, 2005 looks to be a busy year.
News source: WinNetMag