Office 2010 Released to Manufacturing Buy It In Stores Soon

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Office 2010 GraphicMicrosoft has released Office 2010 to manufacturers. I’ve been using 2010 exclusively for awhile now in my freelance writing business. In particular Office OneNote 2010 offers a great organization and clipping tool for freelance writers. For those of you who are not real familiar with how Microsoft releases software upgrades and new versions of products, here is a quick overview.

Want to know how to delete a section group in OneNote 2010?

First, Microsoft codes the product. When it has most of the features and it works pretty well in the test environment, the company releases a technical preview, which used to be called an beta release. This used to only go to select Microsoft partners who has specifically signed up to participate in test Microsoft software. But, the public was invited to download and use Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview off of the Microsoft website.

The new strategy of releasing beta or test software to the public has proven highly successful for Microsoft. Unlike the crash and burn release that made everyone hate Windows Vista, Windows 7 was released to surprisingly few problems and generally positive press, in part due to the extensive testing that Microsoft did by allowing the public to download, install, use, and complain about Windows 7 test versions. It’s no surprise that the boys in Redmond went back to the well for Office 2010, allowing a very public, very functional test release of the Microsoft Office 2010 Suite upgrade to be downloaded by anyone.

The company then continues to update and fix the software until it is satisfied with the result (or needs to ship in order to satisfy other strategic objectives). Once that happens, the company “freezes” the code and no more additional development is allowed on the product, although bug fixes can still take place. This is often referred to as the “Gold” code or gold version. This is the last test version of the product ever produced.

Once the code has been frozen, programmers fix any confirmed bugs. When that is complete, the company presses DVD media or CDs and ships those (or allows electronic transfer of the product installs) to the companies that actually make and sell computers so that they can start designing their own installations of the product to be used on upcoming computer sales. At this point in time, the “real” product exists and customers can get it (legally) by purchasing a computer that comes with a pre-install of Office 2010.

Finally, the company settles on marketing materials, logos, box art, DVD art, and so on and puts together a retail package that can be put on the shelves at Best Buy or Wal-mart, or whatever. This is planned for Summer 2010.

In the meantime, if you know how to rock the Bittorrent, you can probably get your hands on a copy if you really must. Otherwise, the last updated preview version you downloaded should work just find until the product is released for shipping.

By the way, Office 2010 is a really great product. If you are upgrading from 2007, there isn’t as much that is immediately noticeable as if you are upgrading from 2003 or earlier, but it is still worth it. Check out my review of the Office 2010 on Windows 7 review of the technical preview edition as an overview, and coming soon, my reviews of Word 2010, Excel 2010, and more.

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