Office 2010 & Free Web Version Hits Tech Preview

On Monday, the first day of the Worldwide Partner Conference 2009, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 have all reached the technical preview stage. That means that some (probably not you or me) will be getting invites to try out the nascent productivity software.

At the same time, Microsoft announced that the Web version of this suite, lightweight Web browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote will be free. Let's be honest, there was pretty much no way they couldn't be free what with alternatives like Google Docs out there for free.

On the other hand, Google Docs does not work well with complex formatting or complex formulas (Excel); we can easily find documents that work just fine in Office but are all messed up in Google Docs.

In their press release, Microsoft the collaborative and work-anywhere aspects of the new suite:
Office 2010 and related products will deliver innovative capabilities and provide new levels of flexibility and choice that will help people:
  • Work anywhere with Office Web applications — the lightweight Web browser versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote — that provide access to documents from virtually anywhere and preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device.
  • Collaborate better with co-authoring in Microsoft Word 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft OneNote 2010, and advanced e-mail management and calendaring capabilities in Microsoft Outlook 2010, including the option for users to ”ignore” unwanted threads.
  • Bring ideas to life with video and picture editing, broadcast capability in Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, easy document preparation through the new Microsoft Office Backstage view, and new Sparklines in Microsoft Excel 2010 to visualize data and spot trends more quickly.
Oh, and not that Microsoft will worry all that much now, but the Technical Preview has been leaked to (where else) P2P sites, so those not in the lucky group to be invited will likely still be able to try it out.