Today, Microsoft announced the worldwide availability of Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010, as well as Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010.
Besides the introduction of Microsoft's popular Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint), Microsoft is rolling out its own online versions to keep up with the new class of mobile, web-connected users that have emerged since the last upgrade in 2006. Microsoft is obviously countering the challenge of free online alternatives from Google.
Microsoft said that its Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 beta programs were the largest ever, with three times the number of participants compared with the Office 2007 beta program. As a result, 8.6 million people are already using Office 2010 and related products.
Office 2010 and related products deliver new capabilities to help people connect and collaborate with co-authoring in Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft OneNote. Other highlights of the new Office applications include advanced e-mail management and calendaring capabilities in Microsoft Outlook and the addition of the new Microsoft Outlook Social Connector, which brings communication history and social network feeds directly into Outlook.
The Outlook e-mail program also adds new features to tame the ever-growing number of messages in the inbox, including a way to group all replies to a single thread under one line - as well as a way to "ignore" new replies and send them right to the trash.
But the most interesting facet is Microsoft's move into the "cloud", allowing users to manipulate documents stored on remote servers from anywhere.
Users are able to work virtually anywhere with Microsoft Office Web Apps, the online companions to Word, PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and OneNote. Along with easy access to documents from virtually anywhere, Web Apps help preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device, so content and format are generally preserved while moving between the PC, phone and browser. Effective today, Office Mobile 2010 will be available for free via Windows Phone Marketplace for all Windows Mobile 6.5 phones with a previous version of Office Mobile. People using Office Mobile 2010 can perform lightweight editing of Office documents and take notes on the go. With Office Mobile, people can work with Office documents stored on their phone, attached to an e-mail, and can browse, edit, and update documents stored on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 site.
Other features of the Office 2010 include boradcast capabilities for Powerpoint 2010, auto-previewing in Word, easy document preparation through the new Microsoft Office Backstage view, and new Sparklines in Excel for precise trend and data visualization.
In addition, Office Web Apps will now be available to Microsoft's Office volume licensing customers. In addition, Microsoft's customers will be able to purchase a subscription to Office Web Apps as part of Microsoft Online Services, Microsoft's cloud-based applications.
For developers, Microsoft released SharePoint 2010. The software delivers the business collaboration platform for the enterprise and Internet, enabling developers to respond to business needs with custom applications and solutions.
SharePoint 2010 offers flexible deployment options: Use Sandboxed Solutions to limit code central processing unit time, Microsoft SQL Server execution time, and exception handling. Plus, use these same technologies to deploy custom code to SharePoint Online.
Through design integration with Visual Studio 2010, developers can use familiar application development tools to create, package and debug SharePoint solutions. It also includes rich application programming interfaces and support for Open XML, Microsoft Silverlight, Representational State Transfer (REST) and Language-Integrated Query (LINQ), which help developers build applications quickly. Developers can also build applications that connect to line-of-business data, use custom workflows, and provide business intelligence data and dashboards to an entire organization.
Available today in 14 languages, over the course of the next few months, Office 2010 and related products will eventually be available in 94 languages.
For additional information, visit Microsoft's global launch website http://www.the2010event.com.