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Summary:

Want an early look at Microsoft Office 2010? Dan Escapa says that the Technical Preview focused on consumers, students and home users is open. I’m not positive that anyone and everyone can get in, because the program is done through the Microsoft Connect site. I have […]

microsoft-office-logoWant an early look at Microsoft Office 2010? Dan Escapa says that the Technical Preview focused on consumers, students and home users is open. I’m not positive that anyone and everyone can get in, because the program is done through the Microsoft Connect site. I have an account there already, and for some reason, I can’t sign out. I’ll leave it to a non-current Connect member to verify. Here’s the direct link for you to get an early look at Office 2010.

When I worked in the Information Technology space, I would use Office components for hours on end. Moving away from the enterprise, my usage gradually diminished. Now it’s to the point where I haven’t used any Office bits in months, perhaps even a year. I always thought it was an excellent suite of productivity tools, but such a large portion of the overall functionality is overlooked or simply not needed by many consumers. I can’t say that I thought Works was the solution to a scaled-down Office suite, but sometimes less is more.

One of challenges I expect Microsoft to face is overcoming the feature-bloat that many people simply don’t need. At the same time, online and third-party productivity tools are maturing slowly and adding useful features that the majority of customers want. Just yesterday, ThinkFree went live with its suite for netbooks. Having used it, I think that it would meet the needs of many consumers, even a few folks in the business world. The intro price is $24.95, and the Office compatibility is pretty solid.

That’s the conundrum facing these non-Office challengers: too many users require compatibility because they have to deal with Office artifacts from others. Right now, it’s like a productivity tug-of-war with both sides pulling in opposite directions to win customers.

  1. If it wasn’t for OneNote (which MS needs to do a much better job advertising, I know a ton of people who would love something like it), then I wouldn’t be using Office all that much right now either.

    I’ve been using the Technical Preview myself for a few weeks, and haven’t really noticed any non-GUI / non-Sharepoint related changes though.

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  2. 1 of the things i hate most (& usually leave for the end) is when reinstalling an OS having to configure Office settings. i mean GEEEZ, have you seen how many options there are lately? i understand its a very robust/rich app , butthe wonderful thing is MS doesnt even offer a settings export option!

    i really dont see how it is going to get any better though, the way devs sale new versions is by adding new features, which means more bloat & settings.

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  3. GoodThings2Life Thursday, June 18, 2009

    I *live* in OneNote and Outlook, and I literally couldn’t survive without them, because there are no viable alternatives. I’ve tried Evernote but it just wasn’t as fluid of an experience for me, and Outlook has no competition at all for use with an Exchange server.

    I’m anxiously awaiting the opportunity to use Office 2010 with Windows 7!

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  4. GoodThings2Life Thursday, June 18, 2009

    One more thought… I think too many people overlook the productivity gains of Office 2007/2010′s ribbon interface. Microsoft spent years of usability testing before they settled on the Ribbon idea, and despite the initial shell-shock people have, many people really are more productive with it once they stop complaining about the change and start using it.

    I’m still discovering new functionality in 2007, and I’ve been using it since beta.

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    1. “I’m still discovering new functionality in 2007, and I’ve been using it since beta.”

      That’s an interesting statement, no? Oh, there’s much to like in Office. More than most people realize. But isn’t that a problem… people aren’t aware of many functions? Just food for thought… and I agree with you on the Ribbon interface. I think it’s one of the best changes Microsoft implemented in Office 2007.

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  5. Thanks for the link Kevin. It still requires you to sign up to be invited. I’m now waiting for a reply from them!

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  6. Kevin, I was able to sign up without any problem, but I had already been a member because of onenote and visual studio express 2008. I’m on the list, should hear back mid-july. I screwed up when I answered the survey, though: I said I’d be putting it on a 32bit machine only, because I’m sitting at the tx4200 that I’ve been using for 3 years…but tomorrow I’m getting a brand-new(ish) Tx2Z with a 64-bit dual core. *sigh* Some days I’m so dumb. D’you think by mid july they’ll twig to the possibility that people might upgrade iron?

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  7. the way the ribbon dynamically adapts to the window size is brilliant. hopefully 1 day all apps will get rid of static sized icons.

    main problem in 2007 is the lack of ribbon consistency, hopefully 2010 will use the ribbon on ALL the apps.

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  8. I just signed up and noticed that one of the questions they ask is what type of computer you intend to install Office onto. In the past, one of the choices was Tablet PC, however, now that option is not available. The only choices were desktop, laptop, netbook (interesting), and one other choice i don’t remember.

    When office 2003 and 2007 came out, there was lots of talk about incorporating ink into the applications, and now not even a mention of tablet pcs in the beta testing.

    How far we have come!

    Steve

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  9. I think it’s a really clever marketing campaign for “The Movie” aspect of the promotion. I think the landing page, behind-the-scenes video and whole real movie production feel to it is pretty cool.

    While I try to pull myself away from Office a lot, I always keep coming back. Too much of my business and partners work within it especially with Exchange. Also, I find the products very good. To Kevin’s above point to another commenter, I think the problem is that a lot of people don’t know all of the great features contained within Office. 2007 did a good job at highlighting some features that were already previously available.

    Looking forward to getting my hands on 2010…

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