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Microsoft will start automatically pumping out its first service packs for the Office 2007 suite next month.

The software giant said in a statement late yesterday that it plans to stagger automatic updates and has earmarked 16 June* as the big day when distribution will begin.

Office 2007 service pack one (SP1) was released as a manual download in December last year. Exchange SP1 and Sharepoint SP1 also landed late 2007.

System administrators and ordinary folk who couldn't be bothered with the hassle of manually installing the service packs on their machines will, from mid-June, see the updates pushed out automatically.

There is one caveat, however: customers will need to have Microsoft Update (MU) installed and the automatic downloading feature turned on first.

Microsoft said in a statement: "Today we are providing our customers more than 30 days advance notice that SP1 for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, which was made available to the public on 11 December, 2007, will be released via MU automatic distribution beginning 16 June, 2008.

"This means that those customers who have not already installed SP1 and that have chosen to receive updates automatically will start to receive the service pack as early as 16 June. The distribution through MU is a gradual process and so not every customer will see the service pack on 16 June."

In December, Microsoft Office boss Reed Shaffner admitted that customers had been hacked off with the amount of crashes experienced with the first release of Office 2007, which initially failed to capture the market in the way Redmond had anticipated.

Shaffner said at the time that the company hoped SP1 would help "accelerate adoption" of the product that was first released over a year ago somewhat in the shadow of the firm's late-arriving, unloved Windows Vista operating system. ®

Bootnote

* For all you interested pop-pickers out there, that date is 31 years to the day that Larry Ellison and pals incorporated Oracle Corporation in California as Software Development Laboratories.

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