Microsoft Releases Technical Beta of Office “12”

REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 16, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the technical beta release of the new Office system, code-named Office “12.” The technical beta is available only to nominated customers and partners worldwide and is an important step toward general availability scheduled for the second half of 2006.

Microsoft® Office “12” is designed to help improve information workers’ productivity through a new results-oriented user interface, powerful graphics and diagramming engines, and advanced task and information management tools. In addition, through broader investments in enhancing business intelligence, collaboration and enterprise content management capabilities within Office “12,” there are new solutions to help customers control content, streamline business processes, collaborate across organizational boundaries and make more-informed decisions.

“Office ‘12’ will redefine the Office experience,” said Chris Capossela, corporate vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. “The next version of Office is the most significant release in more than 10 years and includes new technologies designed to allow information workers to drive greater business success. Now, after many years of research and development, we’re eager to put the software to the test and solicit technical feedback from select customers and partners.”

Microsoft Office “12” will expand on the benefits Office 2003 delivered nearly two years ago, but will remain an integrated set of programs, servers and services designed to empower people to get better results more quickly. It will include new functionality across the core applications, such as Microsoft Office Word, Excel®, PowerPoint®, Outlook®, Access, InfoPath®, OneNote®, Publisher, Project, Visio® and Groove Virtual Office, as well as new server-based functionality to help amplify customers’ ability to successfully manage the creation, consumption and flow of information.

The beta 1 release of Office “12” serves as a prelude to a broad public beta release this spring. Customers can register to be notified of its availability at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview.

About the Microsoft Office System

The Microsoft Office system is an easy way to help more people use information to positively impact their business. Through a system of familiar and easy-to-use programs, servers, services and solutions, users can connect people and organizations to information, business processes and each other — helping ensure that they derive the most value out of information. The Microsoft Office system consists of the 2003 editions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Office Project and Project Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting 2005, Microsoft Office Communicator 2005, Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003, Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio 2003 and Microsoft Office Business Scorecard Manager 2005. Enabling technologies, such as Microsoft Windows® SharePoint Services and Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003, enhance the features and functionality of products in the Microsoft Office system.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, InfoPath, OneNote, Visio, SharePoint, FrontPage, Windows and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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