Microsoft has released a technical preview of their Office 2010 to developers today. The software suite contains improvements such as new cut-and-paste features for Word and new ways to broadcast PowerPoint presentations online.
But the biggest news? Office 2010 now comes with Office Web Apps (a timely release I should say, as Google Docs and Spreadsheets have just came out of its beta phase).
These apps are “lightweight versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote that are all accessible via desktop, mobile devices, and Web browsers Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. These however, will not yet be available for testing until later this year.
The Office Apps, when launched, will be free and will be available to people who have Microsoft Live accounts. You can also save your documents online to a free Windows Live SkyDrive account.
Don’t expect the Office Apps to look identical to the Office software, however, Microsoft assures that they are doing the best they can to make the apps look similar (with reduced functions) to their software counterpart.
The final Microsoft Office and Office apps will be released to the public in the first half of 2010.
Rumors are circling in the mill that this release from Microsoft is prepared and ready to face its competitors, something that ThinkFree Office Online and Zoho Office Suite (both online office suites) as well as Google Docs and Spreadsheets have to look out for.