Microsoft Office 2010 Achieves Release-To-Manufacturing Status

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Late Friday Microsoft said SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 had also hit RTM status, according to a blog posted by Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president.

Release to manufacturing is the next-to-last step for Microsoft products before they are generally available to customers and PC makers. It means that a software product's code is locked down and no additional changes are permitted.

The new applications have been available as public betas since November and more than 7.5 million copies have been downloaded, according to Numoto's blog. That's three times the number of downloads for the Office 2007 beta, he said.

Microsoft has scheduled an official launch event for Office 2010 and the other products in New York on May 12. But volume license customers with active Software Assurance plans on the applications will be able to download the applications through the Volume Licensing Service Center starting April 27. Customers without Software Assurance can purchase the software through volume licensing from Microsoft partners beginning May 1.

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The software products will hit retail shelves in June. Microsoft said customers can pre-order the applications online. The company has been promising a free upgrade to Office 2010 for those buying Office 2007.

Microsoft will be offering three versions of Office 2010: Office Professional, priced at $499.99; Office Home and Business, priced at $279.99; and Office Home and Student, priced at $149.99. Providing just three editions of Office marks a change from earlier releases when the number of editions of the application suite proliferated.

While Office remains the dominant player in the personal productivity application market, it's increasing being challenged by on-demand offerings such as Google Docs and Zoho.