Office 2007 SP3, another Mango phone event and more Microsoft news of the week

By Mary Jo Foley | October 28, 2011, 7:38am PDT

Summary: Microsoft rolled out its latest Office 2007 service pack and System Center 2012 test builds; invited press to a Windows Phone event on November 7 and trotted out its latest “technology in the future” video this week.

Now that Nokia World is over, I’m grabbing a pint (and a planned weekend of fun in London) before heading back to the states.

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the Microsoft tidbits I didn’t get to write up earlier in the week:

Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007 Service Pack (SP) 3 is out and downloadable
. Here’s a Microsoft blog post with the download links. Here’s some background on this cumulative update that includes a couple of minor new features. SP3 is available via the Download Center as of this week, and will be pushed out as an Automatic Update in 90 days Microsoft execs said.

Microsoft delivers new test builds of a number of System Center 2012’s components
. Even though the official launch for the entire System Center 2012 family isn’t until some time in early 2012, Microsoft is continuing to roll out new Release Candidates (RCs) and betas of the point products before then. This week, the Softies made available for download near-final RCs of Orchestrator, Configuration Manager, and Endpoint Protection; and betas of Service Manager and App Controller. (App Controller is the private/public cloud-management dashboard app formerly known as “Concero”).

Microsoft is planning another Windows Phone Mango event in New York on November 7
. Some of us press folks got invites to the “Backstage” event that will include appearances by Windows Phone President Andy Less and Corporate Vice President Joe Belfiore. While the team didn’t share many details, the invitation featured a picture of three Windows Phones that looked like the HTC Radar, Titan and the Samsung Focus S, all bearing AT&T logos, making it seem that this will be the “launch”/general availability of these already-announced devices. The invitation also includes a mention of “a unique experience in the middle of Herald Square at 12 PM following this VIP event.” (which may have something to do with this?)

Microsoft’s biggest OEM partner isn’t quitting the PC business after all
. In the company’s latest about-face, Hewlett-Packard officials have decided not to sell off the company’s PC business, after all. HP is Microsoft’s largest Windows PC OEM and is onboard with selling/support Windows 8 tablets. There’s no word as to whether HP will retrofit the TouchPad to be a Windows 8 machine or not. Meanwhile, there’s also no word as to whether HP will remain committed to webOS, going forward. I guess that is one reason the head of developer relations for webOS at HP just jumped to Nokia to head up developer relations….

Microsoft updates its view of the future of productivity
: The Office Labs’ “Envisioning” team has made available its latest version of its regularly produced “Future of Productivity” videos. The “2021″ version doesn’t look a whole lot different to me from the 2019 one that Microsoft has been showing off until now. Computing devices will be lighter, thinner and more flexible. Touch, voice and gestures will figure more, but keyboards and stylus/pens won’t have entirely disappeared. And sensors/big data will allow users to interact more intelligently with their environments.

Pre-registered testers are getting the Xbox Live dashboard preview next week: The Xbox Live Dashboard update due “this fall” is going to preselected testers the week of October 31. The update includes support for Kinect voice search powered by Bing, as well as the promised Xbox Live TV service capability, among other new features. WinRumors has reported the coming update is codenamed “Madrid” and also will feature support for a marketplace for applications.

Source: ZDNet