Microsoft releases the public beta version of Office 2010, asking for feedback from users ahead of the productivity suite's general release in early 2010. While Microsoft Office has traditionally been a desktop-centered platform, new functionality connects its various applications to the Web in new ways, particularly with the Outlook Social Connector, which allows users to see e-mail senders' LinkedIn connections and activity feeds.
released beta versions of Office 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, Project 2010,
Visio 2010, Office Web Apps for businesses and Office Mobile 2010 at its
Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles
on Nov. 18.
The beta versions can be downloaded from this Microsoft site.
As with its
development of Windows 7, Microsoft is looking to incorporate user feedback
from the beta in order to craft a more robust version of the final product.
Microsoft executives told eWEEK that the final version of Office 2010 would be
available early in 2010, although they declined to give an exact date or price.
While successive versions of Microsoft's productivity suites have been
primarily desktop-centered affairs, Microsoft seems determined to embrace both
the cloud and connectivity in these new releases. A new feature in the
Microsoft Office 2010 beta is the Outlook Social Connector, which displays
e-mail senders' meetings, communication history and activity feeds, and gives the
option to see their LinkedIn connections. The beta version of Outlook also
allows access to Multiple Exchange Accounts, Calendar Preview, Conversation
Arrangement and other new features.
here to see a gallery of improvements to Microsoft Office 2010.
eWEEK's testing of the Office 2010 beta and discussion of its
new features and enhancements can
be found here.
Microsoft designed new logos for each of the Office 2010 applications, with
an eye toward making them easier for users to identify. A first look at the
logos can be found in a
Nov. 16 post on the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering blog
Office 2010's beta availability.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had
previously announced that the public beta of Office 2010 would be available in
November. At that time, Microsoft announced that the beta would include all
functionality and be performance-stable.
A stripped-down version of the platform, Office
will come preinstalled on PCs produced by major
manufacturers; users will be able to create, view and save documents using free
versions of Word and Excel, but upgrading to the full Office 2010 will require
a code from a card purchased at a retailer such as Best Buy.
Microsoft is also making browser-accessible versions of OneNote, Excel, Word
and PowerPoint available to Microsoft Live subscribers. While lacking many of
the features available in the full Office 2010, these Web applications seem to
be Microsoft's attempt to hold off a challenge by Google Apps and other
providers of cloud-based productivity suites. One of the betas released during PDC
was a version of Web Apps for businesses.