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Users will make contact with the new version of Microsoft Office in early 2010.  (Source: Wired)

Microsoft Chris Capossela is heading the development of Office 2010.  (Source: Microsoft)
Ready to burn up Office tasks, the first bits of Office 14, are coming this year, branded as Office 2010 products

Microsoft's industry leading document and productivity suite, Microsoft Office, has seen new competition from the likes of Mozilla (Thunderbird), Open Office, Google (Google Docs, GMail), and others.  However, Microsoft continues to lead the way in both revenue and user base, and is working hard to push the boundaries of the Office product.

Today it announced in an exclusive Q&A article the official release details on the successor to Office 2007, Office 2010.  Most important is that it is coming soon -- this year.  The first of its components will land with Exchange 2010, set for the second half of the year.  The rest of Office 2010 — including Office Web applications, SharePoint Server 2010, Visio 2010 and Project 2010 will be released as a technical preview in third quarter of 2009, much like the Windows 7 beta program.  The finished products will ship in the first half of 2010.

A big focus of the new suite is to provide a cohesive platform across an increasingly mobile computing world.  While traditional versions will be included for installation on PCs and laptops, the Office suite will also be available as internet applications and on mobile phones, including, reportedly, the iPhone

Microsoft's Chris Capossela, senior vice president of Microsoft’s Information Worker Product Management Group, describes, "With these new products we are giving people a familiar interface across PCs, mobile phones and browsers to make it even easier for them to create, communicate and collaborate from any location. IT professionals will benefit from a choice of new delivery and new licensing models as well as from improved management options to better control costs, and enhanced security across all locations. And through our integrated infrastructure, businesses can more easily deploy, manage and help secure corporate assets and comply with government regulations."

Another concern for Microsoft has been to make its APIs friendlier to developers.  It says it has made considerable advances towards making its Office APIs standards compliant and more accessible.  As evidences by the success of Yahoo Widgets in the TV world or Apple's iPhone, having a solid set of APIs can make (or break) a product, these days.

Security also is a focus of the new suite.  It looks to close past security openings and provide a fundamentally more secure architecture.  This is especially important as Microsoft moves to a mixed deployment for Exchange 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, both with local offerings, and for central online offerings, via its cloud computing/serving business.

Exchange 2010 -- the Office email software -- is one program that got special TLC from Microsoft.  The company has been actively testing it since October 2007, and has deployed it at 2,000 universities, with over 2 million active users.  With this strategy Microsoft is confident that it is very ready for even the largest business deployments.

The testing also allowed it to add many new and useful features to the software.  Writes Mr. Capossela:

Among the new benefits that help people save time and money, Exchange 2010 introduces a personal e-mail archive to not only address compliance and regulatory needs by making mail easier to manage and search across the organization, but which frees up space on production servers and improves performance. Customers can lower costs by replacing their traditional voice mail system with Exchange 2010’s unified messaging solution that now provides text previews of voice mail messages so users may act upon them accordingly, directly from their mailbox. It also introduces new capabilities through Outlook 2010 that combine related messages into a single conversation with the added option to remove oneself from irrelevant e-mail threads. Another addition is the new Mail Tips feature, which will warn users from making embarrassing missteps before they hit send on problem e-mails — such as accidentally e-mailing a big distribution list or sending e-mail when a recipient is out of office, not to mention reducing extra steps and calls to the helpdesk. Those are features I’m sure we can all appreciate.

Another interesting tidbit is that as part of Exchange 2010, Microsoft will be adding Outlook 2010 to Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari browsers, traditional competitors to its internet explorer.  The third party browsers will now have full access to Office Outlook Web Access with Office Communicator Web Access.  If nothing else, this should go a ways towards getting the EU and other antitrust regulators of Microsoft's back in terms of browser competition.

While most users and developers will have to wait a few more months to officially get their hands on the Office 2010 technical preview, Microsoft's early description of the product certainly sounds appealing.  Simply the ability to have a copy of Office for smart phones suitable for full viewing and minor editing of documents would be enough to broaden Microsoft's user base (many Office readers are already offered, but most lack the ability to properly read more complex documents, and lack significant editing capabilities).

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Open Office....
By quiksilvr on 4/15/2009 3:42:39 PM , Rating: 3
Don't get me wrong, this is a great Office Suite. However, it always seems to be one step behind from Microsoft Office. Its slow to start up, their icons are numerous and confusing and their Office 2007 support is sub par. On top of that, the program takes much more space on the HDD and their files are large compered to .docx, .pptx, etc.

RE: Open Office....
By Brandon Hill on 4/15/2009 3:49:58 PM , Rating: 5
For the whopping cost of $0, it does a surprisingly good job.

I've installed it on my parents' machine and various other family/friends and they don't seem to have any issues (I just always make sure to make the default "Save to" file format Office 2003 compatible).

As for hard drive space, who really worries about hard drive space these days unless they're hording digital media?

RE: Open Office....
By inighthawki on 4/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: Open Office....
By Belard on 4/15/2009 8:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
With 32GB of storage... on a Vista system? That OS eats about 10GB on a clean install. Having an office document be 20k larger is the least of your concerns.

Okay.... files sizes:
An empty word document with only the word TEST

Office 2000 = 19k
Open Office = 7k
Office 2003 (Saved AS from Open Open Office) = 68k.

Hmmm.... Open office seems to have a smaller foot print.

Open Office, full install with BASE, presentation, etc = 275mb of HD space. I have no comparison for Office2003 since I only have a partial install of Office2000. I'm pretty much sure a full version of Office2003 is bigger than 300mb... and office 2007 uses about 1.5~2.0GB of HD space from what I can tell from searching google.

So in reality, OO.Org uses less space. Even its installer is just 142GB.

Open office isn't not a direct competitor to Office 2007... but for MOST people, especially as long as they don't need 99%+ compatibility, its more than enough. Its actually MORE compatible since OpenOffice is compatible between all its platforms. I give it to friends and people in the business.

One small shop has saved about $3000 by using Open office rather than MS... and they don't have problems.

RE: Open Office....
By TomZ on 4/15/2009 8:40:43 PM , Rating: 5
One small shop has saved about $3000 by using Open office rather than MS... and they don't have problems.
That small of a savings could quickly get wiped out by productivity differences between the two.

We seriously looked at OO a couple years ago, and we decided it was okay for occasional at-home use, but it was useless for business use. Considering the functionality in MS Office, the cost is pretty cheap. I know lots and lots of people who spend the majority of their computer time in Office applications. It's far and away the most important software loaded on most people's machines, at least in business.

RE: Open Office....
By mondo1234 on 4/16/2009 12:21:44 AM , Rating: 4
Most businesses buy the professional versions with Access and it will jack up the price of a basic system faster than buying a Mac [sarcasm].

Honestly, OO 3.0 is much better than 2.0 of a couple of years ago. I exchange office docs between many businesses with OO at home and hardly notice a difference. I just set the prefs to open and save in MS compatible formats (.doc, .xls, .ppt) and usually dont have a problem. My kid built a 150 MB Impress (Powerpoint) presentation that opened with MS Powerpoint at school. It ran without a hitch. Now that MS is going more towards odf formats, cross platform will only get better.

Word processors should be like browsers, they are staple programs that haven't changed all that much in the past 5-10 years, just new interfaces, ribbons ect.
You can polish a word processor all you want, but it's still just a word processor.

If you are a diehard MS fan, you might not like it. I dont think OO 3 is quite as polished as MS Office, but I do think its good enough for me.

RE: Open Office....
By CSMR on 4/16/2009 9:08:00 AM , Rating: 2
Word processors are word processors (unless they can add WYSIWYM elements), but there's a lot you can still do with communications/scheduling (Outlook) and note-taking (Onenote). These were very good in Office 2007 and can still get quite a bit better.

RE: Open Office....
By Aloonatic on 4/16/2009 3:06:10 AM , Rating: 1
I think you are right and wrong, in equal measure as it very much depends on what people require their office suite to do.

I work in the small business sector and the majority of people simply need a word processor that is easy to use and sorts their spelling mistakes out and a very basic spread sheet.

In larger business with more specialised people working on more complicated and larger projects it is clear that the extra money spent on MS's office offerings are well worth it however.

To sum up this comment. It's horses for courses but many people have become used to MS's office because it is all they have known yet OO will probably do more than they need and will be suitable. it's not for everyone but their are savings to be made, assuming you aren't using a pirated version of office 200x that is, then it doesn't really matter. :D

RE: Open Office....
By Murloc on 4/16/2009 5:31:22 AM , Rating: 1
companies will care about productivity and will pay their licenses in no time because of the productivity increase, but a home user wants free things and doesn't use most of the features.

I think OO is not aimed at businesses with money.

RE: Open Office....
By tastyratz on 4/17/2009 9:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
I think the better way to put it is OO has not yet built enough business consumer confidence and become feature rich enough to be attractive to large business.

OO is a great suite, and you certainly can not get the price - just like linux...

The savings in licensing costs are easily negated through corporate wide training sessions and learning curve operational efficiency when switching the largest application used in a big company. Office is the devil they know, and the costs are up front instead of later.

RE: Open Office....
By Belard on 5/6/2009 5:06:57 AM , Rating: 2
NO, differnet business / offices / users have different needs and budgets.

A small business that barely needs an Office suite, OO is perfect... its $0. And it does everything they need. Saves thousands of dollars for features not needed or ever used.

Another office, they use MS-2003 on everything and use it far more... it was never a question to every try to put them on OO.

For most people and offices, if letter writing and spreadsheet functions is all they need, then OO works fine. Millions of people use OO every day.

I still use MS-Office2000 because (A) I don't need to spend $$ on 2003 or 2007. (B) It does everything I need. Buy my son uses Open Office because he doesn't need MS-Office ability... he's 4. :)

RE: Open Office....
By rubyxc7 on 4/15/2009 9:43:00 PM , Rating: 1
So in reality, OO.Org uses less space. Even its installer is just 142GB.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that you're trying to say 142 MB. :P

RE: Open Office....
By inighthawki on 4/15/2009 10:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
Besides the fact that my post had NOTHING to do with the size of the saved files, why would you compare docs with almost nothing in them? a .docx is about 10-11KB with the word TEST, but thats practically comparing header sizes. I'm not necessarily saying docx (or doc) will be better with more, but you have a terrible test for file sizes.

RE: Open Office....
By StevoLincolnite on 4/15/2009 10:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
I have an EeePC Surf 2G notebook, I threw Windows XP on it, and then managed to "find" a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 "Portable" Which doesn't even consume 200mb of drive space, doesn't need installing it's just click and run, I do have a legit copy of Office 2007, but you tried installing the full version of that on a 2Gb hdd? Office 2007 full install wanted I think 1.6 - 1.8gb of HDD space.

Anyway, I find both products to be good.

RE: Open Office....
By Omega215D on 4/15/2009 11:20:49 PM , Rating: 3
Who rated this up? I did the same test on office 2003 and the file came out to be 19.5KB.

Save as from open office might have ballooned the file size.

RE: Open Office....
By piroroadkill on 4/16/2009 8:54:15 AM , Rating: 2
Office 2007 does not take up that much space as far as I can tell:

RE: Open Office....
By InsaneScientist on 4/16/2009 3:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
I've got Office 2007 Professional Plus with all the apps installed Plus Visio and Sharepoint designer.

My Microsoft Office folder is about 760MB and the MSOCache folder (hidden, on the root of the c: drive) is about the same... total size ~1.5GB

So, it is possible for Office 2007 to reach that size, depending on what components you install.

The major issue with it is that there's no way to disable the local caching of the installation source (The MSOCache folder - believe me, I've tried... but I would love to be proven wrong) in Office 2007, and, regardless of how much you install, you always end up with the full install package. :-S

RE: Open Office....
By Icelight on 4/15/2009 4:11:01 PM , Rating: 2
As for hard drive space, who really worries about hard drive space these days unless they're hording digital media?

The future (and current) users of cheap, SSD-driven netbooks, for one.

RE: Open Office....
By Brandon Hill on 4/15/2009 4:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
The majority of netbooks being vomited onto the market are coming with at least 160GB HDDs AFAICT. Sure, they offer netbooks with small SSDs, but I don't believe that's where the real volume is.

That being said, I've got just a 64GB SSD in my laptop and I've still got 31GB remaining even after installing Windows 7 64-bit (Build 7077), Office 2007, Photoshop, various other apps, and all of my documents/pictures/random crap.

That extra 31GB probably will just sit there wasting away because I don't need anymore than what I have on my machine right now -- most of what I do is through accessing the web anyway, and not what's on my actual PC.

It seems as though that's where we're heading to.

RE: Open Office....
By Icelight on 4/15/2009 4:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough. Honestly, I don't see 4GB/8GB SSD Netbooks having much of a future myself either.

I mean, perhaps if they were sticking to the "cheap as possible little laptop" philosophy we'd have tiny drives for a while longer, but power and feature creep is driving (or already has) them upwards rapidly.

RE: Open Office....
By Penti on 4/15/2009 5:35:15 PM , Rating: 2
That won't work with Windows 7 though, and they would like to move to that as quickly as possible to attract people and to show of their capabilities. They need a W7 license for netbooks though, XP H for netbooks costs like 23 dollars or something. It's cheaper then adapting a Linux distribution with some commercial codecs for your netbook.

I don't really see much future for them as some Celeron / Pentium Dual-core wouldn't really use much more power and they would be much faster then a Atom. They will probably just become cheap ultra portables for consumers. While other ultra portables are for business. I see netbooks moving up to the category where they will have hardware accelerated H264/VC-1 encoding etc and will all work OOB. Portable warezplayers used to surf on your 3G-modem pretty much.

RE: Open Office....
By RamarC on 4/15/2009 4:32:38 PM , Rating: 2
Office Home & Student is only $70-$90 (when it's on sale) and can be put on up to 3 PCs. That's not a bad price for a family with multiple PCs using Windows.

RE: Open Office....
By ImSpartacus on 4/15/2009 9:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
If you're a student you can get an Office 2007 Ultimate license (no media) for $69.95.

Not as versatile as getting H&S like you said (that's what I did), but it's always an option.

RE: Open Office....
By Penti on 4/15/2009 4:47:02 PM , Rating: 2
It does a good job as a word processor, spreadsheet program etc. But it is not and shouldn't be treated as a drop in replacement for the closed/proprietary format MS Office suit. There's just no way successfully legally cloning the functionality of a program that uses application dependent none open formats. What they did in the 80's in GDR/DDR or East Germany when they wasn't allowed to buy software and computers was just rebranding the american or western software. They did do a pretty valid engineering effort to create Intel compatibles though. But they needed compatible software too even though they where capable creating their own software. There hasn't ever been room for much more then one particular product in the world that does the same thing either.

You can always install the MS Word, MS Powerpoint, MS Excel viewer applications on a Windows computer to view documents too. They will display okay, and it isn't often you need to edit documents when just used for personal use, I always sends documents as PDF any way so I know how it will look for the recipient. OOo is okay at editing them, but they will loose some formating in most cases.

The damn Office for Mac shouldn't even be regarded as a replacement or compatible suit. And that says a lot. Run a terminal server for Office or a local VM running Windows with Office if you need it. Or just buy it for your Windows computer if your not on a Mac or got that too.

You will get away with another group-ware / e-mail system because there's no problem sending stuff between different servers, suits and email clients. (Some may be lousy at HTML though, but that's not a huge problem.) Many are even compatible with MS Office or even Outlook. Though for some reason many wants to "standardize" on MS apps everywhere any way.

RE: Open Office....
By Belard on 4/15/2009 8:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
OpenOffice is a great deal for $0 or so... cheaper than $80~140 home version (no Outlook anyways)... business versions are still $200~500 depending if its an upgrade(ugh) OEM or retail.

RE: Open Office....
By DeepBlue1975 on 4/16/2009 2:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
In a previous job I've been on, they decided to use open office instead of the real thing.

Slow, sometimes screws up the formatting with no apparent reason, has some incompatibilities and has not anything like access, which is the only office tool I can't live without while working, as it is so better suited than excel for almost everything you can do on a simple spreadsheet.

But for home use I think it is more than appropriate.

RE: Open Office....
By jaericho on 4/15/2009 3:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
odt and the rest are zipped xml files. I think you can just rename the extension and open it with your favorite zip program. docx (and the rest) are also compressed. perhaps they use something different to achieve a smaller footprint.

RE: Open Office....
By Penti on 4/15/2009 5:21:30 PM , Rating: 2
It's just Zip (or the Deflate algorithm) just as OpenDocument.

The big problem is the 6546 pages long ISO specification and dependence on Word specific behavior which everyone needs to emulate. But most suits supports Office Open XML now. But at least it's much much better then what was around previously. In a couple of weeks MS Office 2007 is also the first suit (with SP2) that supports the ISO specification for Office Open XML, the previous implementations is the ECMA spec. It should work much better in based suits and other suits including google docs once everything is in Office Open XML and they get their software up to speed. Novell has contributed to make that work. But I still would prefer PDF for documents that I have no need to edit.

RE: Open Office....
By JasonMick on 4/15/2009 4:46:50 PM , Rating: 3
I agree with you on the step behind featurewise part.

The one thing I truly loathe most about Open Office is that it sometime steals the keyboard in Fedora OS's and doesn't release, it entirely (and unrecoverably AFAIK) locking your X server... resulting in ALL your work being lost. Granted, from what I've read, this problem is on the X Server side because it doesnt have a means of timing out programs that have control of the keyboard, but Open Office is the only program I run into this on. For this reason alone, I rarely if ever open docs in it.

Another thing working against OO is that it doesn't have as good formula support as Office 2007, which makes writing papers a pain.

For average users, not on Fedora boxes, though I suppose its a decent (free) solution... but then again, so is Google Docs.

I prefer Office ($$) or Google Docs (free).

RE: Open Office....
By CSMR on 4/16/2009 10:11:55 AM , Rating: 2
I like Office; some of the applications are the best software on the market. But for writing papers try LyX. It's very good and being continually improved. And free. It uses latex but you don't have to know latex to use it.

RE: Open Office....
By Iger on 4/20/2009 9:50:54 AM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, Office 2007 is noted for the flawless execution on Fedora...

RE: Open Office....
By Bateluer on 4/15/2009 5:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
The .od* files are smaller than the MS 2003 or 2007 formats, based on my experience using both on a daily basis.

RE: Open Office....
By BeastieBoy on 4/17/2009 3:11:41 AM , Rating: 2
Any comparison between these two suites must surely reflect the prices of both.

By Oregonian2 on 4/15/2009 6:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
new competition from the likes of Mozilla (Thunderbird),

Thunderbird is new competition? I've been using Thunderbird "forever", and even then it's the next-gen version of what used to be the email part of Netscape's suite (that was associated with Mozilla).

Actually wish it were more new... there'a been progress over the years, but it's been on a distant backburner.

RE: Thunderbird?
By TomZ on 4/15/2009 8:41:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, even some of my friends who are staunchly anti-MS won't even touch Thunderbird...

RE: Thunderbird?
By Master Kenobi on 4/16/2009 8:53:54 AM , Rating: 2
I used Thunderbird for a while, my biggest complaint is the inability to migrate of it cleanly. It uses some seriously obscure format to store emails that no other application seems to understand. These days I'm an outlook 2007 user and damn proud of it. I use Lotus Notes at work /cry.

RE: Thunderbird?
By Oregonian2 on 4/16/2009 6:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it stores things the same as Netscape has for the last thousand years. :-)

Back when Microsoft's email program was new'ish and really sucked (it's decently good now, but it used to be really bad in the early years) is when I decided on the Netscape email route (had been experimenting with multiple programs) -- and that smoothly switched over to Thunderbird which was it's natural replacement (may even be the same codebase for all I know -- just pulled out of the Netscape suite into a standalone program).

How superstitious
By dijuremo on 4/15/2009 5:30:39 PM , Rating: 5
So they are going from Office 12 (2007) to Office 14 (2010), I did not know Microsoft was so superstitious to skip lucky number 13. Go figure...

RE: How superstitious
By Master Kenobi on 4/16/2009 8:55:04 AM , Rating: 2
They aren't, but some markets are, and if they saw Office 13, many countries culturally would shun it. (See #4 in Japan)

Windows XP Support?
By ltcommanderdata on 4/15/2009 4:00:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm guessing it'll still fully support Windows XP despite the transition to Extended Support. Office 2010 would probably see slow adoption otherwise.

RE: Windows XP Support?
By ImSpartacus on 4/15/2009 4:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
The web stuff will probably work fine with XP, but I haven't heard anything about the local client. I'm doubtful.

RE: Windows XP Support?
By TomZ on 4/15/2009 8:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the very sizable installed base of XP, especially in businesses, there should be no question that Office 2010 will be 100% compatible with XP.

Open Office API Capabilities
By jcbond on 4/16/2009 1:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Does Open Office (or whoever) allow communications via standards like OLE, ODBC, and DDE? While general functionality is fine for personal use, I write applications that make use of these communications standards. If the competitors to Office don't have these standards, they will continue to be niche players. All MS will have to worry about is competing against previous iterations of their Office product.

RE: Open Office API Capabilities
By Penti on 4/16/2009 4:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
You know MS has opened up the binary formats and so on. The problem is emulating the app, IRM and things like VBA macros(Novell and Sun is working on it.).

DDE, ODBC and OLE is all there though. But it's not a drop in replacement.

RE: Open Office API Capabilities
By jcbond on 4/17/2009 11:51:48 AM , Rating: 2
IRM? Thanks for making me look something up. :-)
Seriously, thanks for the info. I've put Open Office on a couple of family members' computers, but I didn't give it more than a cursory look.

Office 2009 wouldn't have sounded as cool
By Belard on 4/16/2009 5:08:33 AM , Rating: 2

2010... a nice ring to it. :) What beta-screen shots that are out there, O2010 looks like a silver version of O2007, smaller "start" button. GUI is still O2007 ribbons, and they still should include a way to be more OLD-STYLE if a person chooses.

Many people do like to have control of their icon bar for the tools they actually use.

By piroroadkill on 4/16/2009 8:56:40 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think they should have an old-style option, you can think of office 2007 as breaking you in the hard way to the new interface. Giving more configurability is only going to confuse, and is an admission of failure on part of the new UI

By pnyffeler on 4/16/2009 8:09:24 AM , Rating: 2
Is it just me, or does Chris Capossela's photo look like psychologist Dr. Lance Sweets from "Bones"?

RE: Sweets?
By Master Kenobi on 4/16/2009 8:55:59 AM , Rating: 2
Kind of, but slightly uglier.

Chris Capossela?
By Squibby on 4/15/2009 10:28:32 PM , Rating: 3
Microsoft Chris Capossela is heading the development of Office 2010

You sure? Antoine was in charge last I checked...

Awating 64bit groove
By Byte on 4/15/2009 5:14:35 PM , Rating: 2
Groove has been a lifesaver for me. Its like dropbox/foldershare but without a lot of the limitations and works much more reliably and is faster. It has never failed me yet where others have when i try them out. Its too bad it doesn't work with 64bit and MS kinda screwed a few things up when they bought the software. But for the folder sync, its flawless. I really hope they fixed it up in 2010!

By siberus on 4/17/2009 9:30:42 AM , Rating: 2
This semester at school they were still teaching us office 2003. Nothing like graduating obsolete :D

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