Microsoft Releases Office, SharePoint 2010 for Businesses
Microsoft's Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 became available worldwide to businesses on Wednesday. In a statement accompanying the release, which included Visio 2010 and Project 2010, business division President Stephen Elop said the products will "define the future of productivity."
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said it expects 90 million businesses to deploy the newest version of its suite of products, which includes the company's crown jewels of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It emphasized a return on investment through "significant productivity gains," and from the ability to use the tools from mobile devices as well as PCs.
Study: ROI of 300 Percent
In its announcement, the company spotlighted a study by Forrester Consulting that it commissioned. Using a model that focused on costs, benefits to an entire organization, flexibility and risk, Forrester put the return on investment for the 2010 releases of Office and SharePoint, as well as for Exchange and Office Communications Server 2007 R2, at about 300 percent, with a payback period of 7.4 months after initial deployment.
The general availability of Office and SharePoint follow large beta programs, which involved three times the number of participants as the Office 2007 beta program. Because of the size of the beta release, nearly nine million users already have Office 2010, and Microsoft said more than 1,000 partners are creating Office- and SharePoint-based solutions.
New features include revised e-mail management and calendaring functions in Outlook, including Outlook Social Connector, which integrates communications history and social-network feeds into the popular e-mail client.
In Excel, Sparklines can be used to visualize trend data, and PowerPoint has the ability to broadcast to any user with a browser. Throughout Office, users can get quick access to decision-related data as part of business intelligence capabilities.
Office Mobile 2010, for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones, allows "lightweight editing" and is available free at the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Office Web Apps
Perhaps the most-anticipated new components in the Office suite are the online "companions" to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote. Called Office Web Apps, they allow users to gain access to documents from any browser. The documents retain a consistent look and feel, and multiple users can work on the same document simultaneously.
Web Apps is available to all volume-licensing customers, or a subscription can be purchased as part of Microsoft Online Services. The apps will be free to consumers when that version is released next month.
The Web Apps component is seen as a direct response to Google's free, cloud-based Docs. Earlier this week, Google made a preemptive strike before Office 2010's formal release. Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard told news media that users should keep the version of Office they currently have, but add Google Docs, not Office 2010. He said this wasn't a pitch as much as it was a report as to how his customers are utilizing both application suites.