Microsoft launches Office and SharePoint 2010; retail availability in June

Dubbed "the future of productivity," Microsoft Office and SharePoint 2010 were launched today at NBC Studios in New York City. The event was streamed live, and translated in real-time, to over 60 countries around the world. Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, unveiled the products and stressed how the new software will enhance business productivity and save money.

Much of the keynote focused on the new Outlook and its social integration. In addition, a lot of emphasis was put on the collaboration capabilities of the new Office suite when used with a SharePoint 2010 server. Offering a wide range of new and useful business tools, many companies feel that Office 2010 will become the de facto standard for businesses.

There have been 8.6 million beta testers involved in helping Microsoft prepare for today's release. Volume licensees will have immediate access to Office and SharePoint 2010. Retail customers will be able to purchase Office 2010 on June 15. According to the Q&A session, which took place after the keynote, Web Apps should also be launching around June 15, however, not in a formal fashion.

Microsoft is currently running an Office 2010 Technology Guarantee. Neowin revealed Microsoft's plans for the guarantee program. Customers who purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010 will be offered a free upgrade to Office 2010. Copies will be available online, via download, at no additional cost.

In January Microsoft announced Office 2010 pricing. The professional edition will retail for $499 boxed.  Office 2010 will be released in at least five different flavours, including a free version that includes Microsoft Word and Excel, but comes with limited functionality and includes advertisements. The editions of Office 2010 will include Starter, Home and Student, Home and Business, Professional and Professional Academic.

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