Microsoft won't be able to release Office 2007 on time in October as promised.

Instead, the company is hoping for a launch by the end of this year for business customers, with general availability for the Office upgrades opening at the beginning of 2007 rather than in January.

Windows Vista and Office have both been delayed before. Office was scheduled to launch in March, but was pushed back to coincide with Vista's launch.

One Citigroup analyst predicts that the push back of the Office launch is the prequel to an announcement delaying Vista again.

Microsoft's line is that is delaying Office to incorporate changes suggested by beta testers.

Jupiter Research analysts Joe Wilcox commented, "It may not instill much confidence with some customers. Microsoft seems unable to meet its dates".