Microsoft announced today the official release date of its next versions of Office and SharePoint: May 12. Office 2010 will be available to businesses on that day, but consumers will have to wait until an unspecified date in June before they can purchase their versions.
Microsoft says that anyone that buys a copy of Office 2007, either with a new PC or standalone, and activates between now and Sept. 30, will be eligible for a free upgrade to Office 2010. If you're version of Office 2007 was activated before March 5, sorry, you'll have to pay for an upgrade if you want to move from the freebie beta version to the bona fide activated version.
Consumers will also have to use, or create, a Windows Live ID and redeem the upgrade by October 31, 2010.
Office 2010 will run on XP SP3 or later versions of Windows and will be bundled up in five editions.
The full caboodle, available only in Professional Plus edition, will include:
Excel 2010, OneNote (a note taking app that allows you to build folders that contain text, html and multimedia files), PowerPoint 2010, Word 2010, Outlook 2010, Publisher 2010, Access 2010 ( does anyone still use Access?), Microsoft Communicator 2010 ( an instant messaging client/softphone that works with Microsoft Office Communications Server and integrates with the other Office apps, replaced the old Windows Messenger/Exchange combo). Microsoft InfoPath 2010 ( a utility for creating and working with XML-based documents and forms, online and off), and Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010.
The Standard Edition includes all the usual apps, Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, Publisher and also includes OneNote. The professional edition also includes Access. (Click for a chart that details what's included in all the editions.)
Although Microsoft has tweaked some of the user-interface functions, thankfully it has not gratuitously overhauled the menus from the Ribbons in 2007. If users are familiar with Ribbons, they'll be ok with Office 2010. (If not, you might want to check out these free training resources to help them learn Ribbons.)
New in this edition will be support for ODF. There's some irony in this, given how hard, and disruptively Microsoft pushed to get its own XML-based document format accepted as a standard a few years back, OOXML. Given Microsoft's support of ODF in Office 2010, perhaps all that acrimony created by the OOXML scandals was for naught.
The big news with Office 2010 is that it is attempting to be more social. Outlook will include a connector that let's folks access their favorite social sites, like Facebook and MySpace from within Outlook. It also includes a connector to LinkedIn, but support for LinkedIn from Outlook has been around for ages.
Microsoft doesn't ditch FAST editions of SharePoint 2010
UPDATED 3/12: I heard back from Microsoft, and even though the information about the editions has vanished from the company Web site, a Microsoft spokesperson told me that all six versions announced in October are still planned for release.
As for SharePoint 2010, please note the bad news. It can only be run on the 64-bit (x64) versions of Windows Server 2008 SP2 and Windows Server 2008 R2. SharePoint will not install at all on 32 bit Windows, or any earlier version of Windows such as Windows Server 2003. It also won't run on WS2008 Server Core.
Also, in October, Microsoft announced a dizzying editions of versions of SharePoint 2010. Thankfully, they've simplified this by ditching the FAST-specific versions. According to the info on the current Web site, there will be two editions:
SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise
and SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard.
These are to be accompanied by two client-access licenses, appropriately named enterprise and standard.
SharePoint 2010 is known for its cloud-friendliness, and in October, Microsoft was talking up two SharePoint editions that would be geared toward the cloud, SharePoint Online and SharePoint Online for Internet Sites. Microsoft didn't make clear what the difference was between these two, and the existing hosted SharePoint that Microsoft already offers with its Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS), which combines hosted SharePoint 2007 with hosted Exchange 2007.
UPDATED 3/12: Microsoft clarified that BPOS includes ShairPoint Online and is sold by both Microsoft and its business partners, geared to be bundled package. In addition to SharePoint and Exchange, it includes Office Communications Online, Office Live Meeting and Dynamics CRM Online.
While only the two editions are listed on the SharePoint site as of the date of this blog post, the following graphic depicts the many versions of SharePoint 2010 that Microsoft was previously planning. Ah well, even the best laid plans must sometimes change.
UPDATED 3/12: Microsoft confirms the following editions for SharePoint are scheduled for release:
SharePoint Foundation 2010 (successor to WSS)
SharePoint Server 2010 SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Site,
Standard Edition SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Site, Enterprise Edition
SharePoint Online for Internet Site
(The differences between these two have yet to be revealed.)
FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint
FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Business
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