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Microsoft Releases Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 Betas

Microsoft on Monday released betas of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to its MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

The new Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 betas can be downloaded using links at this Microsoft blog. As for the general public, they just have to wait.

"Office 2010 has not yet officially released for the public and we have no further information to share at this time," a Microsoft spokesperson stated via e-mail. Presumably, SharePoint 2010 is also unavailable to the public.

Microsoft has typically said that its Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 products will be available to the general public in the first half of next year.

Office 2010 is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. For those considering an upgrade, Microsoft is planning to release a series of tools as part of its application compatibility program for Office 2010. Upgrades aren't expected to require a hardware upgrade in most cases. However, those upgrading from Office 2000 or Office XP will need to meet Office 2010's minimum hardware and operating system requirements, according to a Microsoft TechNet article.

Office 2010 will include Office Web Apps -- browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Organizations will be able to host those applications on their own servers or pay for access through Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) offerings. The consumer versions will be ad-supported, at no additional cost.

IT organizations considering whether to upgrade to Office 2010 should poll users, according to a study released last week by Forrester Research, "Best Practices: Microsoft Office Enterprise Strategy." About 80 percent of companies surveyed earlier this year by Forrester use Office, but there are alternatives, including Google Apps, Zoho's hosted apps and OpenOffice.org, among others.

The SharePoint 2010 beta is available for download only for 64-bit machines (no 32-bit version is planned). A Microsoft blog describes four tips to note before installing the beta, which is actually referred to as "beta 2" (build 14.0.4536.1000). In addition, Microsoft provides some upgrade resources in this blog.

Microsoft is touting three areas of improvement in SharePoint 2010. IT pros get streamlined central administration, including PowerShell support with the addition of 500 commands. In addition, the infrastructure is more scalable, according to Microsoft, while allowing centralized management. Finally, there are flexible deployment options, such as a sandbox solution that allows code to be safely uploaded by users.

Microsoft also released the Project Server 2010 and Project Professional 2010 betas on Monday. The betas can be downloaded at this Tech Center page. Those using the technical preview version of Project Server 2010 cannot upgrade to the beta, according to Microsoft's notes. However, there will be an upgrade path from the beta to the final release of Project Server 2010.

Project Server 2010 uses the "ribbon" interface and features Web-based project editing with multiple undo support. Users can create dashboards and drill down into reports. Charts can be edited in Excel 2010 and saved back to a project. The server also includes a "demand management" feature that can capture "all work proposals in one single place," according to the Project team blog. Microsoft also integrated a "portfolio analysis" feature that allows users to make decisions based on assessing project costs.

Project Server 2010 is a 64-bit application and needs to be installed on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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