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Microsoft To Release 2010 Products Starting April

Microsoft plans to release many of its 2010-branded products -- including Office 2010 -- to manufacturers next month.

Other products scheduled to hit the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) stage in April are SharePoint 2010, Project 2010 and Visio 2010, according to Microsoft's announcement on Thursday. The RTM release means that manufacturers will be able to create images of Microsoft's software for installation on new PCs.

In addition, Microsoft announced other dates of note for those wanting to buy the new products.

On May 12, Microsoft will begin offering its 2010 products to businesses as part of a worldwide launch event. The event will feature a talk by Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop.

Microsoft typically offers its TechNet Plus and MSDN subscribers access to products before general release. However, Microsoft's announcement did not specify a release date for those subscribers.

In June, Microsoft plans to release Office 2010 to consumers, both through online and retail stores. Currently, Office 2010 is only available to the public as a beta trial version, which can be downloaded here. Microsoft previously issued a release candidate version of Office 2010 in February, but only a private group of Microsoft technology adoption program (TAP) members got access to it.

Microsoft also announced on Thursday that it has initiated an Office 2010 "technology guarantee" program. Under the program, consumers who buy Office 2007 today can get an upgrade to Office 2010 at no additional cost.

The technology guarantee deal comes with some time restrictions. For instance, Office 2007 needs to be activated between March 5 and Sept. 30, according to Microsoft's announcement. In addition, the technology guarantee offer needs to be redeemed before Oct. 31 via this Web page. Consumers need a Windows Live ID, or they need to create one, to take advantage of the offer.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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