Perhaps wanting to give a wide audience something to play with over the long Thanksgiving weekend a story on the ComputerWorld site explains that the private beta is ending and the public beta is almost ready to roll.

Microsoft Corp. may launch the public beta of Office 2010 as early as next week, according to e-mail messages received Tuesday by people who have been testing the company’s next application suite.

Last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer promised that his company would roll out a beta in November. Microsoft has said it will distribute millions of copies of the Office 2010 public beta.

Microsoft launched an invitation-only Technical Preview of Office 2010 in July and used its new Click-to-Run technology to deliver that build to testers. Click-to-Run “streams” pieces of a suite to users who begin a download, letting them start using the suite within minutes. While users work with the suite, the remainder of the code is downloaded in the background.

It’s unclear whether Microsoft will use Click-to-Run to provide the public beta later this month. The company has said, however, that it would rely on the technology when it ships the final version next year and offers a limited-time trial at the same time.

In an e-mail sent to Technical Preview testers Tuesday, Microsoft announced it had shut off the Click-to-Run downloads and was preparing for the public beta.

“We are starting to prepare the Microsoft Connect site for the next Office 2010 release that we will also be asking for you to provide feedback on,” read the message, which Computerworld has obtained. “You will receive an email next week with more information about the new release.”

Microsoft also told testers that they needed to uninstall the Technical Preview before they grabbed the public beta. “We strongly advise that you backup [sic] all of your data files, before you uninstall the Office 2010 Click-to-Run Technical Preview release,” the company said.

While I was totally turned off by early reports of the Office 2010 programs, some of the changes to Windows 7 that were shown at the Launch Event I attended last month made me very anxious to try them out.

Many of the changes that we were shown, that might actually make the claim of better productivity true, are in Office 2010. I am not usually really excited about Office in general, because that is not where I spend most of my time; however, the design changes make me think that I’ll use Office for many things I otherwise would not.

The changes might make believers of many. Also, many copies of Windows 7 will be sold because the changes in Office 2010 are not nearly as impressive when using Windows XP or Vista. In fact, just from what I was shown at the Launch Event, I’d say that Office 2010 without Windows 7 would be a total pass. With it however, I can get excited, and if someone like me gets excited, people who use Office as their daily workhorse should be positively ecstatic.

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Monkeyboy Ballmer

If Office looks as good as it did when i saw it, you might want to join Steve in a monkeyboy dance!



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