Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 is just around the corner

With the forthcoming release of Microsoft Office 2010 I would suggest anyone considering a new computer and Microsoft Office, it is now a good time to wait. If you buy a new computer and Office 2007, with Microsoft's technology guarantee you'll get a free upgrade to Office 2010. The problem is someone needs to install the new version, someone needs to do the admin for the new version and free often means a delivery fee of some type. To me it is much cleaner to simply wait a short while.

I'm still trying to gather information about the new versions and what it means to clients. At this stage I'm hearing a lot of gossip, but gossip isn't good for making decisions.

So far it appears:

1. There will be product cards with no media and then there will be retail products with media. I'm not sure of the product cards/keys will only be for new machines, or for anyone. I get the feeling they will be for anyone, but I'm not sure.

My experience in the past with downloading product off the internet has not been good. I find issues with failures. It is OK when things go well, but the time wasted when something goes wrong can be considerable as well as very frustrating. This can be particularly costly if you are paying someone to do it for you.

2. I believe manufacturers will be able to install Office which on new machines which will have reduced functionality. The Office product you want will be able to be purchased and unlocked with a product card/key. That is a good approach as it gets around the downloading of software.

3. I read that product cards only have a single machine licence, whereas the retail product will enable you to install two copies of the software. This may or may not be for the same primary user.

4. I've read the Home/Student version will be a three user licence. Again I'm not sure if this is correct, or that it is for the packaged product.

5. The typical version used by business may become the version which contains Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note and Outlook. This is the cost effective option with Office Professional for some reason being very expensive if purchased as a packaged product relative to the Home and Business version. However the product key version for new computers is still a reasonable price.

6. The Office Professional version if bought as a retail package is in my opinion far too high and it doesn't quite make sense why they'd price it so high. That to me means it will deter people from using Access which has been one of my favourite Office products over the years. to be fair I've not found many people use Access unless someone else has developed an application for them.

7. Upgrades won't be available. That to me is a big change in approach. However if we compare Office Standard 2007 upgrade with Office Home and Business 2010, the products contain similar applications and cost around the same price. It appears the pricing has been brought down so upgrades aren't required. That is a good move. I see upgrades and OEM often more of a nuisance in terms of support when there is a problem such as a computer failing and a reinstallation being required. To me a single full version of the product would make life easier for everyone.

8. There will be a free version of Office 2010 which is a cut down version in terms of function that will include advertising. I'm not sure yet how this will work. Is it only available on new machines or can it be downloaded and installed? That will become clearer in time.

9. Consumers will be able to use online versions for free using the Windows Live service. It will be very interesting to see how the online versions perform.

10. Those want Outlook will most likely consider Office Home and Business 2010.

11. Office Professional 2010 is significantly dearer than Office Home and Business at nearly twice the price of Office Home and Business. If you want only want Access or Publisher, it may even be cheaper to buy them separately than to buy the Professional version.

12. I'm not sure, but it does seem like Microsoft Works won't be going forward.

The new line up for consumers and small business are Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010 and Office Professional 2010. There is a product key version which is purchased with a new machine (a card) and there is a retail product as a package. The upgrade product is now gone. There are additional versions for large business.

Large businesses will soon be able to get access to Office 2010 and consumers and smaller businesses will get access to 2010 later in June.

As with all software and in fact any purchase, it is important to buy for your needs. I'll be checking out the new versions and looking for ways clients can benefit from the new versions, both the Desktop and the online versions. I hope to make some of my discoveries known via this blog and also via MyAnswers for clients.

- Kelvin Eldridge

TAGS: download microsoft office, microsoft professional office, microsoft publisher

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