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Microsoft will launch the next version of its Office spreadsheet, e-mail and word processing programs during the second half of 2006, the same time frame it is planning for the next Windows version, the worlds largest software maker said on Wednesday.
Gates promised in an e-mail to executives that the upcoming Office upgrades -- code-named "Office 12" -- would make it easier for workers to "focus, prioritize and apply their expertise, visualize and understand key data, and reduce the amount of time they spend dealing with the complexity of an information-rich environment.
Jeff Raikes, the senior vice president in charge of the Office division at Microsoft, said that the trial, or beta, version of Office 12 would be ready by the end of this year, followed by the full launch next year.
Microsoft is betting that its next releases of Windows, code-named Longhorn and Office will drive a new wave of personal computer upgrades.
View: New Microsoft Office release coming in 2006 (May 11th - Neowin)
News source: Reuters