Office 2010 Preview Somehow Leaks To Web

On Friday, the technology blog Geeksmack posted BitTorrent links to the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Office 2010 preview, which Microsoft plans to launch in July on an invite-only basis. The leak follows the pattern of major Microsoft software builds popping up on BitTorrent well in advance of their planned release dates.

Office 2010 will run on Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista and Windows 7 and will include a 64-bit version for the first time. Microsoft launched the Office 2010 blog last week at its TechEd conference and said Office 2010 will run smoothly on hardware that's capable of running Office 2007.

Microsoft bloggers are praising the speed and stability of the Office 2010 preview, with one describing the addition of the "Ribbon" interface to Outlook as a "welcome change." Microsoft introduced the Ribbon interface with Office 2007, but early users decried its lack of intuitiveness.

Now that Microsoft has committed to releasing Windows 7 in time for the holidays, the software giant will shift its efforts toward building buzz around Office 2010. But as is the case with many products in Microsoft's upcoming wave of major releases, it's unclear whether economically strapped companies will be willing to upgrade to Office 2010 right away.

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In February, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said Office 2010 --then known as Office 14--wouldn't ship until next year, which came as a surprise to some industry watchers.

The delay was perhaps a reflection of the lukewarm reception that Office 2007 has received in the two years since its release, but the reality is that Office 2010 will need to bring some serious "wow" if Microsoft is to overcome the competition it's facing from the likes of OpenOffice, Google and Zoho in the office productivity software market.