SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp. said on Monday it has completed the software code for its Office 2007 suite and will begin to offer the world’s most popular package of desktop software to corporate customers on November 30.
Microsoft will also make the new Windows Vista operating system and 2007 Exchange e-mail server available to business customers on the same day, and said all the products will become widely available to consumers in early 2007.
By announcing the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was ready for “release to manufacturing,” it signals that the product is relatively bug-free and suitable for wide distribution.
“We’ve crossed the development finish line,” said Jeff Raikes, president of Microsoft’s business division, in a statement.
In June, Microsoft pushed back the release of its upgrade to Office, which includes the Word processor, Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software, marking the latest in a series of development delays that have plagued the company.
Windows Vista and Office 2007 represent major upgrades to Microsoft’s two most important products at a time when investors question the software giant’s ability to keep up with nimble, faster-growing competitors seeking to offer software over the Internet instead of on the desktop.
Windows and Office together account for more than half of the company’s total revenue and nearly all of its profit.
Web search leader Google Inc. already offers online versions of popular Office applications such as word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and calendar.