Cnet is reporting this morning that, with an eye on a June release date, Microsoft has provided some early testers with a near-final “release candidate” version of Office 2010. While a beta version of this year’s version of Office was released in November and has been downloaded over two million times, a Microsoft representative told the news site that “Microsoft made a release candidate available to members in the technology adoption program (TAP)”. Essentially then it’s insiders only but the rest of us don’t have that long to wait.
They added that, “This is one of Microsoft’s planned milestones in the engineering process; however (we) do not have plans to make this new code set available broadly.” Office 2010 is set to feature several improvements to each of the core programs. However, it maintains the XML file formats and ribbon interface introduced with Office 2007.
The report notes that, “Probably the biggest change is the addition of companion, browser-based versions of Excel, Word, OneNote and PowerPoint, known as Office Web Apps. Also, for the first time, Microsoft will offer both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of the software.”
Once released, the professional version of the software is set to come in at about €355 for the box set, with at least five other varieties of the software (Starter, Home and Student, Home and Business, Professional and Professional Academic). In addition, reports say Microsoft will be releasing a free version of Microsoft Office 2010, though it will be made available with both limited functionality and be supported by advertisements.