Microsoft yesterday released Office 2010 Service Pack 2 (SP2), a cumulative update that includes previously-released bug fixes as well as several performance, reliability and stability improvements.
The appearance of Office 2010 SP2 also switched on the countdown clock for Office 2010 SP1, which will be retired in 12 months, requiring users to upgrade to the second service pack if they want to continue receiving security patches and other updates.
Microsoft offered a public beta of Office 2010 SP2 in April, when timetables for earlier service packs, including Office 2010 SP1, hinted that the second upgrade would not ship until November.
Other parts of the Office portfolio, ranging from SharePoint Server and Visio to Project and language packs, also have been updated to SP2 status, Microsoft said in a blog post Tuesday.
The company claimed that Office 2010 SP2 and SharePoint 2010 SP2 are also more compatible with the Redmond, Wash. firm's newest software, such as Internet Explorer 10, SharePoint 2013, Office 2013 and Windows 8.
Service packs are on their way out at Microsoft, which has dispensed with them entirely for Windows 7 and has shifted to a faster release cadence for Windows 8 and a continual update process for Office 365, the rent-not-buy subscription plans based on locally-installed copies of Office 2013.
While Microsoft will wait 90 days before starting to push Office 2010 SP2 to customers via Windows Update, those who installed the original suite using the company's "Click-to-Run" streaming technology -- first used to deliver Office 2010 -- will automatically receive the upgrade next month.
Users have until this time next year to upgrade to SP2 without interrupting security updates. Office 2010 will exit Mainstream Support, which provides bug patches as well as feature improvements and enhancements, in October 2015, and will be retired five years later, in October 2020.
Even though Microsoft discontinued retail sales of the suite earlier this year, copies can still be found at several online outlets, including Amazon.com, which sells the software at prices starting at $175 for a three-license pack of Home and Student 2010.
Office 2010 SP2 and associated software upgrades can be downloaded manually from Microsoft's website.
This article, Microsoft ships Office 2010 SP2, starts upgrade clock, was originally published at Computerworld.com.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.