With Windows 7 crossed off the to-do list Microsoft is now gearing up for next year’s launch of Office 2010, with the first public beta available in November.
Microsoft will shepherd its next-gen Office suite into the public arena next month, ahead of its launch in the first half of next year.
Office 2010 has already been through an invitation-only ‘technical preview’ stage. More recently Microsoft began previewing the suite’s Office Web Apps components – slimmed-down versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, which run in a browser and point back to Microsoft-hosted servers for cloud-based storage.
However it’s not known if next months’ public preview edition will contain the Office Web Apps or remain restricted to the conventional ‘offline’ components.
Joining Office 2010 on the test track will be Project 2010, Visio 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 plus the network multi-player game Minesweeper Extreme 2010 (we’re kidding about one of these – see if you can guess which it is).
The earlier technical preview was based on the Office Professional Plus 2010 edition which included the 2010 versions of Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, OneNote, Publisher, InfoPath, Viso and SharePoint Workspace 2010, which is the new name for the Groove document collaboration program which Microsoft acquired in March 2005.
(That deal also delivered Groove’s founder and Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, who a year later replaced Bill Gates as Microsoft’s Chief Software Architect).
Like the final Office 2010 release the public beta is expected to be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and run on Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.