A number of readers alerted me this week to a fascinating Shockwave animation that purports to demonstrate some of the online/subscription features of the next version of Microsoft Office, which will be called Office .NET. Code-namedOffice NGO ("Next Generation Office") in the animation, this Office version will include links to a number of of online services, including a secure My Office Web site; a consolidated email account with Web-based Inbox; Office .NET Notifications; online scheduling with a sharable calendar; Meeting Workspaces for viewing agendas, pending tasks, and related documents, SharePoint Team Services-based Team Workspace for sharing information with team members; and a set of online content such as templates, online training, communities, and the like.

So is it real? Is Office NGO really a sneak-peak at Office .NET? It's hard to say, and though some UI inconsistencies have me thinking that this is an April Fools prank, I will say this: If it is fake, it's the most elaborate fake I've ever seen. Let's take a look.

The Office NGO animation
Here is a complete run-down of the demonstration animation. For the most part, a voiceover simply reads the text that is presented onscreen, but in cases where this isn't the case, I note what's being said underneath individual images.


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UPDATE
Jim Adams over at Vibrant Logic tells me that they had links up for the original Shockwave animation but Microsoft requested that they remove the "unauthorized release of an MS concept piece," indicating that the Office NGO work shown here is indeed real.

On to Part Two...
In part two of the animation, Microsoft purportedly discusses the subscription software options it is considering for Office NGO. Go to part two...

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