Microsoft said Friday that it has wrapped up development work on the next version of the Office family, including Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010.
The products were "released to manufacturing," which is the final engineering step. The products are slated to be available for businesses next month and Microsoft is holding a launch event on May 12 in New York.
"RTM is the final engineering milestone of a product release and our engineering team has poured their heart and soul into reaching this milestone," vice president Takeshi Numoto said in a blog posting. "It is also an appropriate time to re-emphasize our sincere gratitude to the more than 5,000 organizations and partners who have worked with us on rapid deployment and testing of the products."
Talking Office 2010 with Stephen Elop
The Office suite, in all its many flavors, will hit store shelves in June and Microsoft is planning a separate Gotham event to mark that occasion. Microsoft is also taking preorders for Office on its online store. Already Microsoft has been promising those buying Office 2007 a free upgrade to Office 2010.
Redmond is also planning to allow PC makers to load a slimmed down Office Starter that users will get for free on new computers.
Among the biggest changes in the new version of Office is the fact that Microsoft will release separate browser-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Businesses will be able to host the Office Web Apps on a SharePoint server, while consumers will be able to get free access as part of Windows Live.
On the desktop side, Microsoft is adding the first 64-bit version of Office as well as other changes including video editing in PowerPoint, photo editing in Word, and an improved "paste preview" function.
Microsoft noted Friday that more than 7.5 million people have been using the beta version of Office 2010.