Microsoft Details Dates, Versions of Office 2010

Microsoft plans to release its Office 2010 software suite in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, making it the first Office suite to support both versions. As its name suggests, both versions will be available sometime next year. In a statement, a Microsoft spokesperson said "Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010, and Microsoft Project 2010 are scheduled to enter technical preview in the third quarter of 2009 and become available in the first half of 2010." After the productivity suite is shipped to manufacturers, Chris Capossela, senior vice president, Microsoft Office has said it takes six weeks to four months or more to reach PC users.

Applications included in Office 14 suite are Word 14, Excel 14, Powerpoint 14, Outlook 14, Access 14, InfoPath Designer 14, InfoPath Filler 14, Publisher 14, Groove 14, InterConnect 14, SharePoint Designer 14, OneNote 14, Visio 14, and Project 14.

One of the most significant new features of Office 2010 is the addition of a Web-based version of the software. Microsoft announced this feature at its Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles last September. The company has said there will be a free, ad-supported version. Microsoft is still working out fees for businesses who want a version without ads. A Web-based version would make it possible for Office to run on Linux or the Apple iPhone.

Office 2010 was formerly known by its codename, Office 14. As you’ll recall, Office 2007 was codenamed Office 12. Microsoft skipped “13” because it was supposedly suspicious and superstitious about the connotations associated with the number. Screenshots of the latest Office suite (in beta mode) were leaked in January.

Combined with Windows Vista, Office 2010 is set to push 64-bit onto the masses. Until Office 2010, the suite has only been available in the 32-bit flavor. The benefits of running Office in a 64-bit environment may not seem very exciting at first, but it could help expedite 64-bit adoption among other vendors. Moving to 64 bits also provides the ability to take advantage of more RAM than the 4GB limit that exists with 32-bit OSes. Theoretically, 64-bit systems can support up to 16.8 million terabytes, though other system limitations make that quantity of RAM unfeasible at the present time. In addition, users who access large databases and spreadsheets as well as those who use multiple programs simultaneously could benefit from the move to 64-bit.

Microsoft also plans to roll out Service Pack 2 for the Office 2007 suite on April 28th.