Microsoft announces key Office 2010 details

Today Microsoft's Chris Capossela, Vice President of the Information Worker Product Management Group, has announced some fresh new details on the next version of Microsoft's Office lineup dubbed Office 2010.

"We're announcing that Microsoft will begin releasing new versions of Office-related products this year. Exchange will be the first product in this lineup, entering beta for customers to download today." Capossela said in a statement. More information on the Exchange 2010 beta can be found here.

In today's announcement we have learned that Exchange 2010 will become available in the second half of 2009, followed by Office 2010, Office Web Applications, SharPoint Server 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010 will also enter technical preview in the third quarter of 2009 and will RTM during the first half of 2010. Microsoft has also released a QnA session with Capossela and PressPass, we'll highlight the bits below:

Q: What can customers expect from the next wave of Office-related products?
A: We developed our new Office products in response to a shift in how people and businesses use technology today. The line between home and work has blurred, so people want more choice and flexibility in how, where and when they work. They're also demanding the ability to access and effectively manage their information whether at home, at work or on the go. IT professionals, in particular, are challenged to deliver business value to their companies while continuing to decrease their costs. In addition, businesses need to comply with new and increasing regulatory mandates and security protocols, while also focusing on driving efficiencies.

The next wave of Office-related products will help people address these challenges. With these new products we are giving people a familiar interface across PCs, mobile phones and browsers to make it even easier for them to create, communicate and collaborate from any location. IT professionals will benefit from a choice of new delivery and new licensing models as well as from improved management options to better control costs, and enhanced security across all locations. And through our integrated infrastructure, businesses can more easily deploy, manage and help secure corporate assets and comply with government regulations.

Developers also will benefit from investments we're making on our platform that will, in turn, reduce their development cycles and improve application interoperability. We are working on open APIs and deep support for industry standards, and at the same time, we are expanding our developer tool support, all toward making developers' lives significantly easier.

Q: What are some of the new scenarios enabled by the next wave?
A: By listening to our customers, we know that people want to stay connected to each other. They want an easy way to bring their ideas to life, and they want the freedom to use Office from more locations and on more devices. The next wave of Office-related products will give them just that. It will be even easier for people to create and collaborate in real time using the Web, the phone or their PC. Business users will be able to get deeper insight into their business processes, and easily find and access the information they need to be more productive. IT professionals will have more flexibility and choice to simplify deployment and lower management costs, while maintaining control. For example, Exchange 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 give users the same value whether deployed on-premises, as a service from Microsoft and industry partners, or a mix of both.

Q: How will these new products specifically improve interoperability?
A: Promoting interoperability has been a high priority for Microsoft. This new wave of products is an important milestone in our commitment to interoperability principles. We believe these efforts will provide greater transparency and clarity to help our partners develop innovative solutions and products that work with Office.

There are two ways we are achieving this. First, we are implementing new document format standards and have dedicated product engineering resources to deliver technical documentation for in-market and future Office-related products. Second, we have published implementation notes and a great deal of technical documentation through our Open Specification Promise so third parties can develop products that work with Microsoft Office-related products. In 2008 alone, we published about 20,000 pages of documentation related to protocols and formats used by Microsoft Office, Exchange and SharePoint Server.

Our teams have also been working on updating this documentation for the next version of our products. As a result of our investments in interoperability, our engineers also have established great new best practices, which have significantly improved product testing, security and integration with third-party products.

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