Better late than never, but today the DVD with Beta 1 of Office "12" that was promised at PDC05 arrived.
I decided not to go with the default "upgrade" option, because that removes all Office 2003 components. Installing side-by-side went pretty smooth. The installation stalls at about 90% in the progress bar, so it has the usual Microsoft Progress Bar Syndrome. That's okay because I am used to it 😉
The only strange thing was that Outlook was selected to be installed at the top level in the list of install options. But it wasn't present after installation. I reran setup and manually selected the main Outlook "12" components. After that the version 12 binaries were present. But this new Outlook version quits on startup after complaining that MAPI cannot load mspst.dll. I guess Outlook doesn't support running side-by-side with an older version. Too bad, I like living on the edge, but handing over my PSTs to a beta 1 version is a bit over the edge for me.
Since the PDC I have been reading the blog of Jensen Harris. He tells a lot about the history of Office and where the product suite is going. It's amazing how much usability work has gone into Office "12" and how refreshing the new UI is. I am hooked already!