Office 2010 Takes Another Step Forward

The Office 2010 RC is available to members of Microsoft's technology adoption program (TAP), a spokesperson said Wednesday in an e-mail. "This is one of Microsoft's planned milestones in the engineering process; however they do not have plans to make this new code set available broadly," the spokesperson said.

Microsoft launched the Office 2010 beta last October and has said it plans to release it to manufacturing by June. More than two million people have downloaded the Office 2010 beta, and 9 of 10 like it more than the productivity suite they're currently using, according to Microsoft.

Office 2010 includes deeper integration with Sharepoint and enables users interact in real time though Outlook, making it possible to share and simultaneously edit documents.

Social networking is also emphasized in Office 2010. A new feature called the Outlook Social Connector incorporates business and social networking feeds into Outlook, and developers can build connections to third party social networking feeds using the Outlook Social Connector SDK, which is now available for download from MSDN.

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Last month, Microsoft revealed pricing for the four versions of Office 2010 it plans to sell through retail. Office Professional will sell for $499; Office Home And Business will sell for $279; and Home And Student is priced at $149. Microsoft's new Office Professional Academic 2010, a new SKU that's tailored to academic circles, is priced at $99.