Microsoft pushes back Office 2003 launch

Microsoft pushes back Office 2003 launch

Microsoft has decided to postpone plans to release a "refresh" of Office 2003 beta 2 before finalising the product, pushing back the commercial launch of the productivity software suite until the third quarter following feedback from beta testers.

"We are making a number of improvements to the beta 2 version of the Office System products," a Microsoft spokesman said. "There are no major issues with Office 2003, but the beta has allowed the Office development team to gather feedback about some minor issues that can impact customer satisfaction."

Microsoft declined to detail what improvements are being made or what issues the beta testers found.

The refreshed version was scheduled to be released later this quarter, most likely on Microsoft's Office beta Web site, the spokesman said. Office 2003 beta 2 was announced in early March.

Originally, Microsoft was planning to release the final Office 2003 code in June, but that had now been pushed back to some time in the third quarter, the spokesman said. About 600,000 copies of the second beta had been distributed and Microsoft had received double the amount of feedback it normally gets on an Office beta.

"The refresh is letting us address problems up front, whereas in the past we would have had to wait until after the product shipped to get this feedback," the spokesman said.

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