Microsoft have confirmed that the launch date for SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 will be 12 May 2010. This is the date that business customers will be able to buy the product, with consumers getting to buy the product around a month later.
I have been running the Office 2010 Beta for around a six months now, and I have to say it is without doubt the most stable Beta I have ever used. I don’t think I can recall a crash that was due to a fault in Office itself, and that probably makes this Beta more stable than the likes of Office 2000 and Office XP that many folk are still using.
This launch also marks a significant, and potentially high-risk, change of strategy for Microsoft, seeing them tackle the threat of free alternatives with their own free editions and fully embrace cloud computing:
- Free, browser-based versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be available to anyone with a hotmail account. These will be called the Office Web Apps. These web apps will also be available to businesses to run internally as an extension of SharePoint 2010.
- A free cut-down version of the Office client suite will be bundled with new PCs as Microsoft Works is discontinued. This will be called Microsoft Office Starter 2010.
- SharePoint 2010 embraces multi-tenancy enabling it to be used much more cost efficiently as a cloud-hosted collaboration platform.
- The addition of SharePoint Workspace – a client application enabling you to take SharePoint sites offline and continue working when out of the office and disconnected from the web.