Microsoft ( MSFT) dropped the other shoe Friday, conceding that some versions of its Office suite will be delayed until early next year.

The news followed this week's announcement that the consumer version of Vista, the next generation of the company's Windows operating system, will be delayed until January. Business customers can get the new software late this year.

The 2007 Microsoft Office package, which includes the Word processor, Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software, will be made available to business customers in October 2006, the company said. Consumers will have to wait until January 2007.

Although the delays will have little impact on Microsoft's financials, analysts said, there are concerns that the snafu will damage sales of PCs, software and related items during the crucial Christmas shopping season.

Microsoft's prestige, already damaged by seemingly continuous reports of security flaws in its software, has taken yet another hit, and the the company has reorganized the division that develops its profitable Windows franchise.

Shares of Microsoft were up 9 cents to $26.94 in recent trading.