Microsoft is expected to announce the commencement of the long-awaited Office 12 beta program possibly as soon as next week, according to testers.
But for now, its not clear which Office products—including a new "Office 12 for Windows Mobile" SKU—will be part of the initial test round.
On Thursday, Microsoft sent confirmation notices to the first group of testers accepted into the Office 12 Beta 1 program.
In the note, Microsoft informed the chosen technical testers that they should expect to receive the Beta 1 code, documentation and support some time in the next two to three weeks.
The confirmation notes did not specify which members of the Office 12 family will be made available, however. In addition to the Office 12 desktop suite, Microsoft also is refreshing its Exchange Server and SharePoint Portal Server products as part of the "Wave 12" family, the first pieces of which are slated to ship in the latter half of 2006.
And company officials have acknowledged there will be other new Office 12 products on deck, including an Excel Server and InfoPath Server.
In addition, partners close to Microsoft, who requested anonymity, said there is another Office 12 deliverable on deck, as well.
Tentatively called "Office 12 for Windows Mobile," the product will consist of viewers for Word, Excel and PowerPoint (along with some very limited editing capabilities for Word and Excel)—plus a new "OneNote Mobile" version of Microsofts OneNote note-taking application.
The mobile Office 12 suite is being designed to run on smart phones and PDAs, sources said.