Microsoft is slowly letting some details out about the next version of Office, which should be with us around about the same time as Longhorn (i.e. who knows when....)

Microsoft is trying to develop software that can do a better job of sorting out the really important e-mail messages we get from the ones that are not. E-mail has come a long, long way in the last ten years, from something that was more of a bit of fun to something that we can't do work without. The problem is, over this time, the amount of e-mail we receive has jumped dramatically, and Microsoft wants to build technology into the next version of Office to help us better deal with this.

For PowerPoint, Microsoft is working hard it claims to automate more of the graphics features from within the presentation program so that users can knock up very nice looking presentations without any design effort.

Microsoft has also been putting its efforts into getting Office to connect to other business software, and there has been a push to allow access to SAP data using both the Excel and Outlook components of Office, as well as work with Siebel.