Microsoft Office 2010 won't come on DVD. Rather you can either download it directly from the internet, or if you have a new Windows 7 PC, merely unlocked the version that comes preinstalled with an upgrade card. The upgrade cards will be available from Microsoft and retailers.  (Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft Word 2010
Microsoft is trying to hook more people on Office with a partially functional ad-supported edition

"Hard at work on your homework?  How about a late night snack at Taco Bell?"

That's the kind of message that may soon be popping up when you're writing Office documents, if you opt to stick with the free ad-supported edition -- Microsoft Office Starter 2010 – which was just announced.  The new free edition will only feature partial functionality.  The critical question that has not yet been answered about this new edition is exactly how much will be disabled.

That is a critical question because competitors are already offering popular alternatives that are ad-free and free.  Among these are Open Office 3 and Google Docs.  Microsoft must tread carefully when deciding just how many features to support in the free version, in order to give customers incentive to upgrade, but avoid having them jump ship to a more functional free alternative.  The free ad-supported version is exclusively on PCs (i.e. it is not available for Macs also have their own version of Microsoft Office).

The free edition joins three other editions of Office 2010: Office Home and Student 2010, Office Home and Business 2010, and Office Professional 2010.

The other big news about Microsoft Office 2010 is that it will go DVD-free.  A locked full version of the software will be available on new Windows 7 PCs.  Customers can purchase an upgrade card from Microsoft or at retailers to "upgrade" or unlock the software and experience all its features.

Microsoft says the approach will allow users to install more quickly and without the hassles of physical media.  They also say that its better for the environment, bragging, "An added bonus: The card’s packaging is smaller than the full package (DVD) product, and is eco/retail-friendly."

A broad public beta is planned for later this year to help people decide if Office 2010 is for them.  Microsoft says that upgrading from  the beta to full versions will be quick and easy.

Another piece of news about the upcoming version of Office is Click-to-Run.  Click-to-Run will be managing downloads -- both software installations and patches -- within Office 2010.  Microsoft says that Click-to-Run "significantly reduces the time and effort required to download Office 2010 over the Internet." Click-to-Run uses virtualization, so multiple installations of Office 2010 with different features, alongside older versions of Office are possible.

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