Microsoft confirms that Office 2010, the next version of its flagship productivity suite, will be generally released in June. With new cloud-based functionality and additional features, Office 2010 is an attempt to match rival productivity platforms such as Google Apps. Along with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, the new version of Office is a vital part of a software platform refresh designed to help Microsoft reverse a declining revenue trend.
Microsoft will release Office 2010 in June 2010, according to the company, providing
a firmer date for the release of next edition of its productivity software.
Previously, Microsoft executives would only narrow it down to the first half of
"We expect Office 2010 and related products to be generally available
in June 2010," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to eWEEK on Dec.
At the Professional Developers Conference held Nov. 17 to 19 in Los
Angeles, Microsoft released the beta versions of
Office 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, Project 2010, Visio 2010, Office Mobile
2010 and Office Web Apps. All the beta versions can be downloaded from this site.
Microsoft is likely hoping to draw on an expansive pool of beta testers to
refine Office 2010 ahead of its summer release. Unlike previous, more
desktop-oriented versions of Office, this version of the productivity suite attempts to embrace the cloud: Stripped-down, browser-accessible editions of
OneNote, Excel, Word and PowerPoint will be made available to Microsoft Live
subscribers for free, allowing them to access and edit documents online.
However, the broadest range of tools will only be available to those who
purchase the full version of Office 2010.
The full eWEEK review
of the Office 2010 beta can be found here.
Improvements include sidebar
enhancements to Word 2010-such as a Navigation Pane that replaces Word 2007's
Document Map feature-as well as contextual spell-checking ("I can't wait
to meat you," for example, is duly corrected); Excel 2010 features tweaks
to PivotTable, PivotChart and conditional formatting; and additions to Access include
alerting the user to blocked active content.
Office faces a new challenge from cloud-based productivity programs such as
Google Apps, many of which are free, and some of which have the potential to
erode Microsoft's market share.
plans for retaining that market share include Office 2010 Starter,
version of the suite that will come preinstalled on PCs produced by major
manufacturers. The advertising-supported Starter Edition will replace Microsoft
Works and will offer streamlined versions of Word and Excel with which
documents can be created, viewed and saved. In order to upgrade to the full
Office 2010, which will already be present on the PC's hard drive, users will
need to purchase a single-use license on a plastic card from a retailer such as
Along with Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, Office 2010 represents
Microsoft's attempt to revive its fortunes after a few quarters of declining
revenue reports. For their part, Microsoft's manufacturing partners likely hope
that a massive software platform refresh will encourage both businesses and
consumers to purchase new hardware.