Microsoft Sets Date for Office 2003

Retail availability expected at launch on Oct. 21, sources say.

Microsoft is expected to announce on Friday that several versions of its forthcoming Office 2003 suite have moved from development to manufacturing.

Delivery date for the shrink-wrapped productivity suite: Oct. 21, sources said.

Microsoft will announce that some, but not all, of the six Office 2003 SKUs will go to manufacturing this week, say sources. The six SKUs are: Professional Enterprise, Professional, Standard, Students and Teachers, Small Business, and Basic.

Sources add that Microsoft is planning to launch the Office 2003 suite of desktop productivity products at an event in New York on Oct. 21. Retail SKUs of Office 2003 will be available through retail channels on that date, sources close to the company say.

Microsoft had been expected to launch Office in October in New York.

On the same day, Microsoft is expected to launch officially other "related" Office System products. These include FrontPage 2003, OneNote 2003, Publisher 2003, Visio 2003, Project 2003, SharePoint Portal Server 2003, InfoPath 2003, Live Communications Server 2003 and Live Meeting.

But volume-licensing customers allegedly will get their hands on the product earlier. Microsoft is shooting to provide its enterprise users with Office 2003 by the last week of September or first week of October, sources say.


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