Three weeks ahead of its volume license release, Microsoft’s Office 2007 has gone gold and been released to manufacturing. As Microsoft announced last week, the software suite will become available to volume license customers on November 30 and to consumers in January 2007. Today marks the end of the Office beta program, which has seen a total of 3.5 million users download the Office 2007 Beta 2 release. Those looking to try the upcoming Office suite will now have to wait until December 1, which is the day Microsoft plans to make available free, downloadable trials of the software to U.S. and Canadian users via its Office Online website. The trials will complement Microsoft’s current browser-based “online test-drive” scheme.
Office 2007 will include a new user interface, a new ZIP- and XML-based OpenXML file format, collaboration features, and more. A “Home and Student” version of the software suite including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be available for $149, while other versions will cost between $239 for a Standard edition upgrade to $679 for a full retail copy of Office Ultimate 2007.