It seems that Microsoft’s beta testing of its upcoming update to its office suite, the appropriately named Microsoft Office 2010, is nearing readiness, with word emerging that there’s a Release Candidate (RC) build in the wild… but not everyone’s getting it.
Microsoft’s open beta programs have been working out very well indeed for it lately, with the company’s move to offer Windows 7 to everyone and anyone who wanted to download it resulting in a widely-tested and incredibly well publicised launch for the OS when it did release. Moreover, it meant that many who might otherwise have been hesitant to update had already been running Windows 7 for a while when it launched.
The beta for Office 2010 has been similarly well received, with somewhere in the region of 2 million users having downloaded the early version. Now though, with the move to a release candidate, it seems that Microsoft could well be wrapping up the testing phase, at least for those in open beta. Cnet is reporting that Microsoft has already rolled out the RC to members of its technology adoption program.
When it was asked about the situation, Microsoft responded to say 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.”
While many have been quick to ask if this means that the free ride offered by the Office 2010 beta is due to come to a close in the near future, it seems a relatively prudent thing for Microsoft to do. Given the fact that it likely can’t exercise the same level of control over its office suite as it does those copies of Windows 7’s RC left over from testing.
Still, Office 2010 is shaping up well, we’ll be curious to see how well it does when it launches, given the fact that Office updates tend to be very positively received even without a beta.