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Microsoft expects heavy demand for open beta

Microsoft's bread and butter products are Windows operating systems and the Office productivity suite. These two products account for the bulk of the software giant's profits and as such, its fate is closely tied to the offerings.

Microsoft has announced that an open beta for Microsoft Office 10 is now available. The new beta requires the typical Microsoft rigmarole to download that includes getting a license key, registering for or signing into your Live or Passport account and then waiting the eternity it will take to get the 684MB download started and finished. There will be hoards of users vying to the downloads so expect significant delays in the download process.

Requirements to run the beta software include a PC with a 500MHz or higher processor, 256MB of RAM or more, 3GB of drive space, a 1024 x 768 resolution monitor, and a DVD-R/W drive. Those last two mean the vast majority of users on netbooks are out of luck.

The beta software is compatible with XP SP3, Vista SP1, Server 2003 R2, Server 2008 SP2, and Windows 7. The download is available in both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions; Microsoft recommends the 32-bit version of the software. The beta version includes Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, Excel, OneNote, Access, Publisher, InfoPath, SharePoint Workspace, and Communicator.

The first announcement that a public beta for the new productivity application would be offered this was back in October. In October, word that Microsoft might have a partially ad-supported version of Office 10 for users to take advantage of also surfaced.





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