Microsoft to alpha test Office 14 before end of year

Microsoft will begin alpha testing the next version of Office in November or December, according to a blog posting by a Microsoft employee that was later pulled from the Web.

According to the blog posting, by Hayley Rixon, who works on the Microsoft business intelligence team, Microsoft is calling for people to be part of a technology adoption program (TAP) that will give them an early opportunity to test the monitoring and analytics components of Office PerformancePoint Server.

The TAP for this product will be a part of the TAP for Office 14, the alpha test of which will begin in the “November/December timeframe this year,” according to the blog posting. Office PerformancePoint Server is business performance analysis software that will be a part of the Office 14 release.

While the blog posting was live on Microsoft’s Technet site on Monday afternoon Eastern time, by afternoon on the West coast the Web site was no longer working. The post also no longer appears on Rixon’s blog. Microsoft could not be reached for comment Tuesday about the site no longer being active. However, on Monday through its public relations firm Microsoft said that while the Office team is working on the next version, “it is too early to discuss specific features, capabilities or timing” for the product.

The deadline for submissions to be a part of the Office PerformancePoint Server TAP is Aug. 28, according to the post.

Office is the most widely used productivity software in the world, though competitors such as Google and IBM are competing with Microsoft by offering free office productivity applications.

With the latest version, Office 2007, Microsoft has begun to expand business versions of Office to include collaboration and business-intelligence capabilities, as well as links to Microsoft’s enterprise applications and database. Though Microsoft has divulged few details about Office 14, the company probably will expand these features and links in the next release.

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