Want an early look at Microsoft Office 2010 (s MSFT)? 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.