Will Office 14 be ready for release in 2009?

In late July it was suggested that Office 14, the codename for the successor to Office 2007, would be released in either late 2009 or early 2010. This led to speculation that the next version of Office would be simultaneously released with Windows 7, much like Office 2007 and Vista were.

Blogger Stephen Chapman recently posted a screenshot he obtained in July 2008, suggesting that Office 2009 would indeed be released this year:

However, this information is now outdated, and Microsoft still has not started the Office 14 beta program. Most Windows 7 testers may not have received any builds as of yet, but select testers have, many builds have already leaked, and a public beta is supposed to be released very soon (at latest Friday).

On the other hand, Office 14 does not even have leaked screenshots yet, let alone a private or public beta. For this reason, I find it doubtful that Office 14 will be released simultaneously with Windows 7, especially given how quickly development for Vista’s successor seems to be going. Nevertheless, the beta program for an office suite can be much shorter than that of an operating system, so there is still hope.