PressPass spoke with Microsoft Office product manager Reed Shaffner to learn more about what customers can expect from Service Pack 1 and how it will turn Office 2007 into an even more potent productivity tool.
PressPass: What are you announcing today and what does it mean for customers?
Shaffner: We’re announcing the availability of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, which delivers significant stability, performance and security improvements. These enhancements span the software applications and servers that home and office workers use each day and will make the 2007 Office system an even more robust and effective productivity tool. In essence, SP1 targets the issues that customers told us mattered to them most.
PressPass: What are the main improvements that customers will notice with SP1 for the 2007 Office system?
Shaffner: SP1 provides stability and performance improvements across the 2007 Office system, keying in on customers’ leading productivity concerns, and beefs up security precautions to stay ahead of the latest threats from malicious software and other risks.
Crashes are one of the most frustrating experiences customers have, and the team worked hard with SP1 to make our products more stable. We’ve also included most of the previously-released hotfixes that also help reduce the incidence of crashes in Office applications.
SP1 also provides key fixes and enhancements to make the 2007 Office system more reliable and easier to use. For example, SP1 addresses problems customers have experienced in Outlook 2007 when opening large mail files. It also delivers more accurate presence information in Microsoft Office Communicator to help improve collaboration and communication for customers.
We also did a lot of work to improve the reliability of the 2007 Office system’s server components with SP1. We know that search is really important to our enterprise customers using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, so we spent a lot of time improving indexing to help make documents and information easier to find. SP1 includes support for AJAX deployments, which should help developers create custom Web Parts for their customers. Finally, SP1 bolsters the robust security standards built into Office 2007 by incorporating the very latest advances in security technology to deliver even greater protection against malware, privacy intrusions and other threats.
SharePoint Server 2007 and other server products are also now compatible with Microsoft Windows Server 2008, giving customers the peace of mind they need to proceed with upgrade plans.
PressPass: How did you arrive at the improvements in SP1? What feedback and testing went into it?
Shaffner: The enhancements and fixes in SP1 are the result of extensive testing from end-users participating in our early-adopter Technology Adoption Program as well as our own internal testing.
PressPass: At IT Forum in November you said customers could expect SP1 in early 2008. Why is it being released early?
Shaffner: Our development team was able to deliver the enhancements and fixes earlier than we’d anticipated, so we wanted to get them in the hands of customers as soon as possible.
PressPass: It’s now been a year since the release of Microsoft Office 2007. What are you hearing from customers and how’s it faring in the market?
Shaffner: We’re really happy with where we’re at one year after the release of the 2007 Office system. The reception from customers has been amazing. Especially well received has been the revamped Office Fluent user interface with enriched functionality and easier-to-find commands. We recently passed the 12 million mark in trial downloads of the 2007 release from Microsoft.com. We’re optimistic that with the shipment of SP1 we’re removing any residual barriers that may have impeded deployment and that adoption will only accelerate. In the meantime, we’ll continue to listen intently to our customers and deliver on their changing needs.
PressPass: How can customers get SP1?
Shaffner: Customers can download SP1 immediately from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/default.aspx. They can also place an order for a CD at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx. At a later date, we also will provide SP1 through automatic update.
For a complete rundown of the benefits offered by SP1, customers can visit to view a White Paper documenting all the enhancements.