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Office XP Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft Corp. released to manufacturing its next version of the Office suite early Monday morning. Retail availability is expected for later this spring.

The suite, called Office XP, is aimed at extending Office’s capabilities into workspace collaboration, an area where Lotus Development Corp.’s Domino/Notes combination has a strong presence.

“Office XP can be a knowledge hub for people, where they can easily access information from a variety of sources, use additional services and communicate with other people,” said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for Office, in a statement.

The XP name stands for experience. It is also the name Microsoft chose for its next generation operating system client, Windows XP, due out this fall.

A key new feature is integration with Microsoft’s new collaboration server called SharePoint Portal Server, which is not yet out. Microsoft put out a Release Candidate 1 of SharePoint in early January, saying it would be the only Release Candidate. The company recently posted a second Release Candidate of SharePoint, which was formerly known by its code name Tahoe.

Another new collaboration feature of Office XP is Smart Tags, which lets developers create workflow capabilities into Office. A free Smart Tag Software Developer kit became available Feb. 21.

Microsoft began development of Office XP, formerly known as Office 10, about two years ago. An initial beta version went to 3,000 testers in August, and a second beta went to 10,000 testers in October.

In the eating your own dog food category, more than 20,000 Microsoft employees are running the software.

Early adopters include Timex and Vanguard. – Scott Bekker

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.