It's decision time again for people who buy, manage, and use Microsoft's Office applications suite. Three years after introducing Office 2003, Microsoft is readying an upgrade in the form of Office 2007, a collection of about 15 desktop applications, five server applications, and middleware called Windows SharePoint Services that runs in the Windows Server operating system and ties those applications together with added functionality. I grabbed the chance last week to sit down with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and ask him about some of what's new in Office 2007. You can listen for yourself; here's a podcast of our conversation.For the first time, Microsoft will offer a server version of its Excel spreadsheet and, finally, blogging and wiki tools. Gates defended Microsoft's approach of continuing to promote a client-server applications architecture while competitors offer new capabilities directly on the Web. He also talked about how Microsoft's approach to enterprise data search differs from that of Google. For more, see InformationWeek's analysis of the mother of all desktop applications in "Gates Talks Up Next Version Of Office."
Background music: "Breath," courtesy The Cow Exchange under Creative Commons License