Last week, we confirmed that Microsoft plans to ship its next Office release to system manufacturers in early March 2010. Now, we are able to confirm that the release will be shipped in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors thanks to some hidden clues that Microsoft left in Windows 7 beta releases.
According to Ed Bott from ZDNet, some of the arcane files that are included with Windows 7 beta releases seem to reveal clues to an upcoming Office x64 release. For instance, Windows 7 build 7000 includes an obscure XML file called Migwiz.xml which includes the same list of applications found in Windows Vista. In post-beta builds, however, this file has been updated to include more modern programs. It was in the header of this file that Ed noted the Office 14 section includes an extra “_x64” entry for each listed Office program.
In addition, he notes that there are separate sections labeled “Office x86 detects” and “Office x64 detects." The file points out the ability to upgrade from Office 2003 to 'Office 14' 32-bit or 64-bit, and likewise from Office 2007 to 'Office 14' 32-bit or 64-bit.
The fact that these codes are to be implemented in the final release of Windows 7 later this year ultimately confirms Microsoft's plans to release 'Office 14' in early 2010 as reported. Moreover, the inclusion of native 64-bit support for Office is a huge plus for the entire suite.