Office 14 beta coming “relatively soon”

Microsoft has revealed that it plans to launch a beta of Office 14 – including its new web apps – “relatively soon”.

Office 14 beta coming

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last week ruled out the possibility that Office 14 would launch this year.

But the company is pressing full steam ahead with the testing of the software, suggesting that Microsoft will be in a position to bring Office 14 to market early in 2010.

Microsoft’s senior vice president, Chris Capossela, told CNet that the company will issue more details on a beta shortly.

Caposella said the web apps – which include Word, Excel and PowerPoint – were already being tested in a small closed beta. “We will look to expand that number relatively soon,” he said.

Microsoft showed off the Office 14 web apps at its Professional Developers Conference last year. Unlike Google’s rather stripped down set of online apps, the Microsoft products looked and performed near identically to their desktop equivalents, whilst offering advanced features such as real-time collaboration.

Microsoft is clearly confident its web apps have the potential to ride roughshod over Google’s offering. “The bloom is off the rose I would say when it comes to Google in the enterprise,” Caposella said. “Last year there was a nice halo effect for their brand for their business offerings.”

“I think the reality is Google isn’t an enterprise company. Microsoft wasn’t an enterprise company a long time ago and it took us years to earn the credibility.”

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