Microsoft Office 2010 will be with us next year and there are lots of great new things happening with it. I’ve been running the technical preview for a couple of months now and there are countless new features that I love – you can see more on that here and here.
There are 3 new announcements regarding ways that Office 2010 will be available:
Microsoft Office 2010 Starter:
This is my favourite of the 3, an ad-supported, cut down version of Office 2010 containing Word & Excel…for FREE. It will include the ability to view files as well as creation and basic editing functions and will be easily upgradeable to a full version of Office 2010.
This is of course aimed at increasing Office’s exposure in emerging markets as well as taking market share from Sun’s OpenOffice package; in my opinion that’s a good thing. OpenOffice, while a commendable Open Source effort, just isn’t as good as Microsoft Office. It’s not just me as a Microsoft fan saying that-friends and colleagues who are Mac and/or Linux fans agree too 🙂
The situation I can see Office Started being of most use to me is when I’m setting up new PC’s for friends/family and I get the almost obligatory “Where’s MS Word?”…”What? What do you mean it’ doesn’t come with the computer?!” tirade. It always seems that people buy new machines sans Office and then immediately need to start creating/editing documents…why, I’m not sure! Currently in these case, I recommend they download OpenOffice for the time being and then they can get Office at a later date…but I’d much rather download Office 2010 Starter edition for them! In fact, in the vast majority of cases this will be pre-installed on PC’s by the OEM manufacturer allowing users to get working straight away.
I guess a lot of people just stick with OpenOffice once it’s on their machine-something that Microsoft would clearly like to change. I can imagine that once someone has seen what is possible with Office Starter, quite a high percentage of people will upgrade to Office Home & Student which:
“has been the top selling PC software title at US retail for the last two years”
and is a great value way of getting Office at home. It’s worth noting that MS Works will be discontinued when Office 2010 is released.
Also, to combat what seems to be a common misconception, although Starter will be pre-installed by OEM’s, it WILL also be available for users to download themselves.
Product Key Card:
This is a new way to purchase Office from retail outlets (PC World, Comet, Currys.digital etc) which is simply a card with an Office licence key on it (no dvd media); allowing you to easily convert trials that are pre-installed on machines. It hits the green mark too by using less packaging 🙂
Click to Run:
This is a new way to download, try and buy Office on existing machines. It uses virtualization technologies (which seem to be based on their corporate App-V technology) to allow multiple version of Office to co-exist. This means consumers can try Office 2010 while still keeping their current 2007 installation with no risk of conflicts.
All in all-these are yet more reasons for Office 2010 to be the best release to date 🙂
The Official Office 2010 Technet post (with videos) is here: