Microsoft Office 2010 Public Beta Underway Now

Dennis Faas's picture

Although the next version of Microsoft's very popular Office software isn't set to ship until the new year, the Redmond-based firm recently unveiled a public beta allowing interested users to try new editions of PowerPoint, FrontPage, Word and more.

Microsoft revealed the beta at the PDC developer event going on right now in Los Angeles. The beta is currently available and can be installed and run alongside older versions of Office, allowing the user to take a closer look at what's new for 2010. (Source:

So, what new features can we expect in Microsoft Office 2010?

First of all, Office 2010 broadens the software's integration with Sharepoint, allowing users to interact with their programs in real time through Microsoft's Windows mail software, Outlook. This means that coworkers can work together on Word or Excel documents from different places in the office, editing and sharing documents and maximizing production.

Unfortunately, access to this feature is limited during the beta, so it's unlikely we'll be able to give full impressions of Sharepoint's update until next year.

What users of the beta will immediately appreciate are brand new graphics tools and PowerPoint video capabilities that offer users the ability to make presentations much more engaging. Video functionality has virtually changed the way most of the best websites work, so it's about time Microsoft brought that same technology to the business environment.

MS Hopes Sharepoint Will Set Office 2010 Apart from Competition

Still, Microsoft and its partners are trumpeting updates to SharePoint as Office 2010's real attraction, and the feature set that will set it apart from rivals. "There are a ton of word processors out there -- but how many of them let you also do workflow management?" asked Dave Sobel, CEO of Microsoft partner Evolve Technologies. "What's really powerful about Office is to view it as a platform. The links to Sharepoint and workflows, these are the kinds of things that set it apart." (Source:

Industry experts believe that Office 2010 and Sharepoint could help Microsoft follow up Windows 7 and solidify the new operating system's place in the global business environment. "When businesses make the decision to upgrade to a new operating system, or buy new PCs, they typically upgrade Office as well," said analyst Chris Letocq. "This is a planned, deliberate process, and you don't want those productivity gains taken away by deployment time issues."

Those interested in downloading the Office 2010 beta can find it here.

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