The next version of Microsoft Office - codenamed office 11 - is not yet in beta, says Microsoft, but it is due within a month. Yesterday Steve Ballmer announced that Microsoft already had the next Office release in beta, but this is not quite the case.
"Were not in beta yet", the Microsoft Office XP Product Manager David Bennie told The Register. It should happen in less than a month, however. Beta 1 will be a closed program with 6,000 copies released worldwide. Beta 2, following on in 2003, will be slightly more open with 3,000 customers involved.
David Bennie was speaking about the XDocs application announced earlier this week. Emphasising that "XML is the way to go" for Microsoft, he claimed that XML is steadily establishing itself in business use. He also fleshed out possible uses. Salespeople out on the road, for example, could record travel expenses and details of future meetings in one form. Each cell of an XDocs form could relate to different business requirements - meeting information going to Outlook, expenses info to SQL Server, etc.
Note that whereas Office XP was the first incarnation of Office to allow saving of files as XML (as a different document type), XDocs will work natively in XML - there is no native format to translate.
News source: The Reg