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Office 2010, A Year Later

The corporate vice president of the Microsoft Office Product Management Group, Takeshi Numoto, noted in a blog posted on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the release of Office 2010, that Office 2010 is "the fastest selling version of Office ever." Numoto also wrote that that businesses are deploying Office 2010 five times faster now compared with the deployment rate for Office 2007 when it was released.

Despite the stat, a recent survey by Forrester Research showed that the use of Office 2003 and Office 2007 still predominates in businesses. Data from Forrester's "Q1 2011 Global Desktop Innovation Online Survey" of CIOs and IT executives showed that IT departments supported "Office 2003 and earlier" at 74 percent, "Office 2007" at 72 percent and "Office 2010" at 52 percent. The survey included responses from 150 decision-makers in North America and Europe.

Consumer adoption of Office is strong, with about "67 percent of U.S. online consumers" surveyed found to be using Microsoft Office, according to Forrester Research, which reported that figure at the time of Office 2010's release.

Most of Microsoft's Office revenues come from business users. Microsoft said at the time of Office 2010's release that the company gets about 80 percent of its Office revenues from enterprise users and 20 percent from consumers.

Office is produced by the Microsoft Business Division (MBD) and represents the cash cow of that division. Here's how Microsoft describes it: "MBD offerings include the Microsoft Office system (comprising mainly Office, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync), which generates over 90% of MBD revenue, and Microsoft Dynamics business solutions."

Office 2010's appearance a year ago essentially marked the rollout of Office Web Apps, which are browser-based versions of Excel, Word, OneNote and PowerPoint for the PC. These Office Web Apps had been announced as far back as the 2008 Professional Developers Conference, but their full release got delayed. Office Web Apps represent an answer to alternative online productivity suites, such as Google Docs, which still represents a tiny threat to Microsoft, accounting for just eight percent of IT deployments, according to Forrester's Q1 2011 survey.

Despite Microsoft's huge lead in the productivity suite market, Google Docs regularly gets panned by Microsoft's product managers and other employees. For instance, Google's lifecycle practices with Google Docs get critiqued here.

Microsoft's Office Web Apps come with a price for organizations, although they are free for use by consumers in conjunction with free storage via Windows Live SkyDrive. To use Office Web Apps, organizations will need to have licensing in place for SharePoint 2010 or they can use the free SharePoint Foundation 2010, which requires Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft early on recommended that organizations deploy the 32-bit version of Office 2010, rather than the 64-bit version. The problem, noted over a year ago, was getting some of the add-ins, controls and Visual Basic for Applications programming code compatible with a 64-bit Office 2010. It's not clear if those limitations are still in effect or not.

Microsoft plans to release Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 sometime around the end of this month, according to an announcement made at this year's Tech-Ed conference. Possibly, the SP1 release will be close to the rollout of Office 365 on June 28.

Office 365 represents a consolidation of the various services currently offered as part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services offerings. The Office Professional Plus application that will be offered as part of the Office 365 service will be the one component installed on premises, rather than accessed online, according to an analysis by Directions on Microsoft.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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