Office 2010 roundup: beta download, release date, etc., etc...

It's time to download the beta of Microsoft Office 2010. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers put it through its paces and play "guess the release date".

By Richi Jennings. November 18, 2009.

(MSFT)

Office 2010 logo
Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention youshouldhaveseenthis.com...

    Kelly Fiveash predicts "testing times ahead":

Microsoft plans to punt five different flavours of its Office 2010 suite when it lands in the first half of next year. ... Standard, Home and Business, Professional Plus, Professional ... Home and Student ... with three of those versions hitting public beta testing status today. ... Customers were faced with eight different Office 2007 SKUs..

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Those interested in the beta should be able to tinker with Home and Business 2010, Professional 2010 and Professional Plus versions of the Office software by downloading the software here.
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Emil Protalinski adds:

The most ambitious goal Microsoft is striving for with Office 2010 is making it available via a familiar experience across the PC, phone, and browser. Office 2010 ... will come in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors and on one DVD no less.

  In addition to the five editions ... announced in July 2009 ... and the ad-supported one announced last month, Microsoft is also working on the Office Web Apps: Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. As of September 2009 they were in the Technical Preview status but this week they moved into beta. Last month, rumors swirled around Office Mobile 7, the last piece of the Office puzzle we've heard the least about, being ready for Spring 2010.
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Preston Gralla got hands-on:

Since I've already reviewed the Technical Previews of both of Office 2010 ... and Office Web Apps ... in this review I will focus on changes made since those releases.

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Outlook Social Connector ... has a twofold purpose: to track all of your e-mail and other history with each specific contact, and to extend Outlook's reach beyond Office to the Internet and social networking sites.

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Backstage View [is] an all-in-one location for information about documents and common tasks you can perform, such as saving, printing and sharing documents. It brings features and information that are located in many places in Office 2007 into one location in Office 2010.
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Will Will Kelly like it?

Microsoft is really stepping up its game with this release, and even though there are scattered reports of performance issues, I am not seeing them. ... Microsoft has opened up the suite even further for more sharing of content across applications.

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OneNote has gotten a lot attention this time around. ... As a collaboration platform with its new coauthoring feature. ... PowerPoint 2010 enables you to edit video directly in the application ... fine for video novices but those of you more video literate may find the feature to be a little lightweight.
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Better Ben Parr, by far:

It’s becoming more and more clear that Google is breathing down the neck of Microsoft when it comes to office and document-building software. ... Google is asserting that Google Docs will be a viable alternative to Office by 2010. Microsoft isn’t taking this threat sitting down, though.

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The beta doesn’t boast a ton of differences from the Technical Preview that Microsoft released back in July. However, as you might expect, it is more stable and fixes bugs found in the technical preview. It’s also another chance for the company to gather more data before the ultimate launch next year.
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But Harry McCracken's no fan of the Web versions:

I think folks will be disappointed in Word (which doesn’t have graphics tools, at least in this version) and very disappointed in PowerPoint (which is more of a slideshow viewer with rudimentary editing features than a true presentation creator). ... I hope I have this all wrong, and that the Web apps will look better when they ship.

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Aside from the aforementioned issues with the Web apps (and the connectivity Office 2010’s desktop versions offer with them), the beta seems to be pretty smooth and reliable. I plan to use it from here on out when I’m using Office, and will report back here from time to time. If you try the beta, I’d love to know what you think.
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So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

    And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

 
 
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