CNet was one of the lucky groups, I guess they were lucky, to get their hands on the very first public beta of Microsoft Office 12. From what I am reading, this upgrade won't be like the last two upgrades that really didn't offer substantial change or new features; this upgrade will be more like the Office 97 upgrade after Office 95, big changes.
In several of the programs say good-bye to the standard file menu and hello to what they call ribbons. There will be lots of other "visual" changes and one would assume some deeper ones as well. Of course, will this software be worth getting on day 1, or even day 456? The verdict won't be out until probably day 120 of its release.
I will say that it looks like the Windows version of Office may finally get some of the pizazz the Mac versions of Office have had for a few years now, as well as the easier user interface. One can hope anyway.
Check out the review and the slideshow.