The Microsoft Office Engineering Team announced on the Office Blog yesterday that Service Pack 3 for Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007 would be released sometime before the end of this year.  Although they did not provide a specific timeline for this release they did indicate that this would likely be the final Service Pack for the suite.

Service Pack 3 contains a roll-up of all 2007 Cumulative and Public Updates since Service Pack 2 for both Office client suites and applications as well as SharePoint Servers, in addition to some new fixes for issues discovered during the lifecycle of SP2.

For each of these products, if you are current with Automatic Updates for Office 2007, you have already installed most of the changes in the release. SP3 is much smaller than 2007 SP1, SP2 or the recently released 2010 SP1.

Mainstream support for Office 2007 client and server programs is scheduled to end in April 2012 so they want to give end users 6 months to test and deploy this update before that support is finished.  According to Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle page for the US extended support is for another five years after the mainstream support end date.

Although the post indicates no specific details about the release date, it is listed as Calendar Quarter 4, for this service pack there is a fairly blatant clue about the month it will be out in the next paragraph. 

Hint – we are in it.

The October 2011 release provides a 6-month window to test and deploy the release prior to exiting mainstream support.

Now to just boil that down to the date!