Thank you for your continued participation in the Microsoft Office "12" Beta program. We have some exciting things just ahead for you. We know that you're excited too, and have put together some answers to the questions you've been asking.
First, we have important news about what you can (and can't) discuss publicly at this point in the Office "12" Beta program. Next, some news about product naming, delivery dates, and an interim build we're going to release to you next month. And finally, a preview of some neat things we're planning to make available for you as we reach the Beta-2 timeframe. Read on...
Clarification on Office "12" NDA
As part of your inclusion in the Technical Beta program you have agreed to an end-user license agreement (EULA) which prohibits the discussion of your Beta testing experience in any public setting. Your participation in this Beta program has allowed you to access documentation, newsgroup forums, and product code that is intended for your private testing, feedback and discussion within the confines of BetaPlace.
That said, as a result of publicly disclosed Office "12" client application features and content, we are now allowing all testers to discuss publicly or blog about the features in the Office "12" client applications. This specifically refers to client-side features only in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, InfoPath, Access, Project, Visio and Publisher. All other Microsoft Office "12" Beta products, including Groove and all server products and capabilities, as well as any reference to server content, are still under NDA and therefore prohibited from public disclosure.
Additionally, given the legal agreements you entered into as member of the Technical Beta Program, your personal experience in the Beta program and the resources (documentation, newsgroups, bug reports, surveys, images, etc.) provided on BetaPlace (http://beta.microsoft.com) are still under non-disclosure and may not be posted or discussed in a public forum. If you are not able to adhere to these EULA/NDA disclosure guidelines, your participation in this and future Microsoft Beta programs will be voided.
Office "12" Product Naming and Delivery Dates
There has been some speculation recently about Office "12" product naming and delivery dates, and we wanted to let you know our official position on both. We have not yet announced final Office "12" product naming or packaging, but remain on track to deliver the next release of Microsoft Office products in the second half of 2006. As soon as we do release any information about either, we will notify you and provide links to the official press releases.
Coming Soon: Office "12" Beta-1 Technical Refresh Build
The Office "12" team is busily preparing to release a Beta-2 build of Office "12". While we continue working hard on this exciting new release, we have prepared a interim Beta-1 Technical Refresh build for you. Among other things, this build of Office "12" will allow Beta testers of Windows Vista to test Office "12" client applications on Windows Vista Feb. CTP. This interim build will be made available to you on BetaPlace (http://beta.microsoft.com) in the March timeframe. We will contact you with additional details about the Technical Refresh as soon as it is available.
On the Horizon: Hosted SharePoint Sites for Beta 2
We've received many questions about whether we will provide hosted Windows SharePoint Services v3 sites to Office "12" Beta customers. We intend to provide this service with the release of Office "12" Beta 2 in the second quarter of 2006. We appreciate your interest in testing and providing feedback on new Windows SharePoint Services functionality and look forward to rolling out the hosted environment later this year!