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Windows hasn’t cornered the market on Microsoft date slips.

While the Windows Vista launch delay made big headlines this week, the Office 2007 one did not. On March 23—in the midst of the hubbub over Microsoft’s reorganization of its Platforms & Systems division—Microsoft officials acknowledged that Office 2007 is now going to launch in 2007, not 2006.

“It is true that Microsoft has decided to coordinate with Windows Vista to hit retail store shelves in January 2007, but that’s a reflection of the desire to provide an easy purchasing process for consumers and a simplified selling opportunity for retailers,” said a company spokeswoman. “There is no slip in schedule, just a change in delivery for the benefit of consumers and retailers.”

She added that, just as is the case with Windows Vista, Microsoft will still release the Office 2007 code to manufacturing before the end of calendar 2006. But only volume licensees will be able to take delivery of the code in 2006. All other Office customers will have to wait until January 2007 to obtain Office 2007 through new PC preloads and the retail channels.

Microsoft announced Thursday that Steven Sinofsky, the head of Microsoft Office development, will be moving over to the Windows team to spearhead engineering of future versions of Windows beyond Vista. Company watchers said they believed Sinofsky’s appointment was linked to his reputation as an individual who can ship code on time and with much predictability.

While the Office trains typically have run in a more timely manner than the Windows ones, Office is not immune from slips.

Read the full story on Microsoft Watch: Can Microsoft Make the Trains Run on Time?