Office XP represents a solid, incremental upgrade, but many enterprises are having a hard time justifying it in terms of cost.
Office XP offers some interesting features for collaboration, such as SharePoint Team services. Moreover, the software also provides some useful end-user features, such as Smart Tags and Task Panes.
However, enterprises need to figure out how to use those features to enhance their businesses before upgrading to the product. That could involve cultural change and application development, which require time and effort.
Enterprises that decide to upgrade, but do not have Enterprise Agreements or Upgrade Advantage, need to act before Oct. 1 to get a lower price because Microsoft plans to change its licensing and upgrading policies as of that date. Enterprises do not have to install the product before Oct. 1, but they will need to make the purchase by then to save some money.
Microsoft's new licensing and upgrading strategy will push revenue for Office XP. Gartner believes that Office revenue could go as high as $800 million before the beginning of October. The product will also advance Microsoft's .Net strategy by linking Office more strongly with Internet-based services.
Enterprises should review the new features in Office XP and decide whether upgrading would be worth the cost and effort. Unless they can identify specific features that could provide an acceptable return on investment, enterprises already running Office 2000 may benefit from skipping this new version and waiting for the next Office release.
See news story:
Microsoft, corporate friends push new Office
(For related commentary on whether it makes sense to move to Microsoft's XP offerings, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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