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article imageOffice 2010 Beta to come in 3 different flavours, with Web Apps

By Brenton Currie     Nov 15, 2009 in Technology
Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) is this week being held in Los Angeles, and excitement is already brewing over the most likely announcement on the Office 2010 Beta with the launch of a new-look website about the program.
On Friday, the Office 2010 Beta site switched from redirecting to a site about the technical preview to a full-scale website displaying select information about the upcoming beta, now actively promoting the ability to download the beta, although at the present time you can't actually download it.
The site provides some very interesting information about the seemingly imminent beta. For one, it appears the beta will come in three forms - Office Home & Business, which includes Excel, PowerPoint, Office Web Apps, OneNote, Outlook, and Word, Office Professional including Access, Excel, Office Web Apps, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Publisher and Office Professional Plus (for volume licensing customers) that will have Access, Communicator, Excel, Infopath, Office Web Apps, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and SharePoint Workspace. The big news here - Professional Plus. It's unlike Microsoft to promote a volume licensing beta, and signals that the tech giant is likely to make a push on the upcoming version of Office towards enterprises, many of which who still run the seemingly outdated Office 2003.
Web Apps, Microsoft's much-hyped about offering that will bring Office programs to the web, similar to that of Google Docs, is also set to star, with a likely full-scale beta roll-out to be announced, with instructions providing tips on how to use the online apps.
And according to the FAQ, the beta will end on Oct. 31, 2010, just months after the release candidate of Windows 7 is due to expire. Whilst no specific release date for Office 2010 is mentioned, the site does hint towards a release sometime within the first half of the year.
All this seems to be leading up to a possible announcement sometime next week at the PDC, and combined with a tweet "MS Office team has some exciting news to tell at PDC" from the Microsoft Office team's Twitter account the evidence is beginning to stack up. On top of this, on Friday Microsoft sent out invitations to users of their Office Live Workspace service, inviting them to fill out a survey in the hope of being "one of the first to explore the new Microsoft Office Starter 2010.”
Recently Microsoft emailed all participants in the Technical Preview of the upcoming suite, stating that the program will soon be coming to a close, and suggesting users download the beta when it becomes available.
It should be pointed out that the site is still missing much of the content that will eventually grace its pages, and as such some of the information already there may change. However it's just as likely that everything else will begin to appear over the next 48 hours as the build-up to the PDC Keynote continues if Microsoft don't take the site down.
More about Office, 2010, Beta, Web apps
 
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