Microsoft Office 14: Victim of the Recession?

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Steve Ballmer has announced that Office 14 won't be ready until some time in 2010. Given that up until now, there have been hints that it will ship in 2009, one wonders whether the ship date isn't being decided by technology, but rather by expected economic conditions.

A spokesperson told Computerworld that the next version of the office suite, Office 14, won't ship until 2010. Until fairly recently, there have been hints that the suite would be released this year. And the alpha of the office suite has already shipped to certain Microsoft customers.

Why the delay? Microsoft isn't talking. But shipping the product in 2010 may make more sense than doing it in 2009. By all accounts, 2009 will continue to be a dismal year for the economy, and the slowdown may get worse in the coming months. Although no one expects 2010 to be a blockbuster year, a number of economists believe that's when a recovery will start.

Shipping the suite this year may not improve Microsoft's revenue picture much, because corporations will likely put off purchases as long as possible. And if the company ships Office 14, and few people buy it at launch, it may be viewed as a failure, and so lose momentum.

So shipping in 2010 may make more economic sense. There's no way to know whether that's why the ship date is now officially 2010, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

This story, "Microsoft Office 14: Victim of the Recession?" was originally published by Computerworld.

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