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How come Microsoft ship Office 2007 SP1 so Early?

Blogging in Microsoft does allow a great deal of freedom to the blogger, but the final test before hitting “publish” is always to think “What would this story look like on the front page of the New York Times, or Wall Street Journal”.  I think the worst case interpretation of this blog might give a headline like “Steve Ballmer got it wrong” says Brian Smith.  But hopefully it wouldn’t come to that (he didn’t get it wrong anyway) – and it probably wouldn’t be the front page, and probably wouldn’t even make the Valley View (my local paper) – so here goes…

At the time of the project conference the work on SP1! was going well – still not complete, but homing in on the final few fixes.  So we knew we would soon have a release date we could stick to – but we weren’t quite there.  Steve Ballmer did a great keynote on the future of project and work management – along with some demonstrations of what is coming in the next release – and then to Q & A.

The inevitable question was the date of SP1!  Steve was really gunning for the customers here and pushing Mike Angiulo for a date.  At that point we were still on track for December, but with the holiday period approaching even a small issue could push this into the new year – so Mike gave Q1 as a safe release date.  Steve’s interpretation of Q1 was “March at the latest”.  So the date was now March!  That’s how it happened – and I know because, to quote Max Boyce, “I was there”.  And nobody really got it wrong.

You all now know we delivered SP1 on 12/11[…]

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Office 2007, Microsoft Office, Service Pack, SP1, Office SP1, Release

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