MICROSOFT'S pre-release programme for the next version of its Microsoft Office productivity suite has gone down after just a few hours.
Just a few hours after launch, the entire Microsoft Office beta website based on the company's Sharepoint service was shuttered with a message reading, "Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Office programs! We are in the process of updating our submission site and expect it to be back online soon. We will be accepting applications throughout the next several weeks and hope you return later in the week to submit your interest."
Participants will have access to self-destructing beta versions of Microsoft Office software products in return for filing bug reports and giving feedback. Testers will be hand-picked to join the programme based on their responses to a sign-up questionnaire.
Once the website reopens, participants are expected to be among the first to experience the new touch-friendly components of the Microsoft Office suite codenamed "Gemini". These new editions have been rumoured for some time for Windows and Android tablets, following the successful launch of the iPad version, which garnered 12m downloads in its first week.
Microsoft in the UK has told us that it isn't clear why the website is down and will have more details once its counterparts in the US are online later today.
This Microsoft Office beta programme is the latest in the firm's recent attempts to seem more open. Earlier this year it announced the .NET Foundation, an organisation to manage source code that the company released for the first time. µ