Companies with Software Assurance agreements that expire at the end of November will be able to upgrade to Office 2007, Gartner said Tuesday, because Microsoft has added the new suite to its corporate price lists.
Although the new bundle, the first upgrade in three years, has not yet been released to manufacturing, its appearance on the November Open and Select price lists means that some businesses can relax.
"Organizations whose contracts expire at the end of November can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will have rights to the software whether they renew their SA [Software Assurance] or not," said Gartner analyst Michael Silver in a research note posted online.
Earlier this year, Silver criticized Microsoft for the slow pace of Office 2007 development, and said it was likely that companies with long-term upgrade agreements would be out of luck if their contracts expired in September, October, or November.
Tuesday, Silver also advised corporations ordering Office after Nov. 1 to specify Office 2007. Even with its 5 percent price increase on the lists, the new version is the one to get, he said. "Realistically, most organizations won't do more than kick [Office 2007's] tires during the remainder of 2006 [but] to many, the date it shows up on price lists is actually more important than having the actual code."
Microsoft has refused to confirm the date, but reports claim that Nov. 30 is the official launch date of Office 2007, as well as Windows Vista.