As we gear up to launch the next version of Office, I want to share a bit of what's in store. Each new version of Microsoft Office is developed through a fundamental approach that includes extensive research, planning, and most importantly, lots of listening to our customers to discover what they really need from their software to be more productive. The goal of this approach (what some might call stoic ☺) is to deliver a product that reflects how essential our products are in the professional and personal lives of over half a billion customers around the world, and one that is designed to help these many customers be more productive in real ways.
Our customers are helping us do this with their feedback. We reached more than 6 million downloads of Office 2010 in the 17 weeks since the start of beta last November. This has been our most successful beta in the history of Office. Over 80% of beta users have encouraged others to download the beta, and 9 out of 10 beta users feel that the Office 2010 beta is an improvement over their current productivity suite
Of course, we are aware of others taking a different approach. Some believe that businesses and consumers will settle for software and services that deliver rudimentary capabilities, or what some call 'just the basics'; however, our customers tell us that they want to accomplish something great (not just mediocre). They really care about the quality of their work. They want to collaborate and pull from the collective wisdom of their teams to deliver their work the way it is meant to be seen (without compromising fidelity). With Microsoft Office 2010, we want to help them do just that, and I believe the new capabilities deliver on what our customers are asking for.
Here are some additional elements of the upcoming release that I am excited about:
Making it very easy to get Office with a new PC
We're making it easier than ever for people to try and buy Office 2010 when they purchase a new PC. We're partnering with the top PC makers around the world to pre-load the Office 2010 "image" on new PCs, so you can just buy a Product Key Card to activate the version of Office you want to use. Thanks to these partnerships, I expect to see 80% of consumer and small business PCs shipping with an image of Office 2010 pre-loaded. The pre-loaded Office 2010 image (that can be activated to become any of the retail versions of Office 2010) also comes with Office Starter, which is reduced functionality versions of Word and Excel that include advertising. Office Starter will help people get acquainted with Office 2010, and we are excited that it will help us reach new customers. Once customers are ready to step up to a full version, upgrading is just a few clicks away.
The Introduction of Office Web Apps
Most people are on the go today and need to access their information from wherever they are. We created Office Web Apps with this in mind. People will be able to view, access, share and work with their Office documents from virtually anywhere using Office Web Apps. The web-based apps will be available to consumers via Windows Live and business customers can integrate them as part of their IT infrastructure. Nearly 500M users will have access to the Office Web Apps when Office 2010 is available. We are really excited about how this makes Office more useful in more places within people's lives, but also about how this helps us reach customers we may have not reached before. Customers who may have never experienced Office will be able to see why over 500 million people worldwide already use Office. I see this as a great way to expand our customer base, further connect with students, small businesses and consumers across the globe.
New partnerships to make Office more useful
With Office 2010, we will help people harness the phenomena of social networking and help customers manage their lives by bringing their professional, social and personal networks together through Outlook. Staying connected can help consumers become more productive. Recently we announced the Outlook Social Connectors for Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. These partnerships will deliver capabilities that empower people to integrate their social networks into Outlook 2010, making it simple to update contacts, change status and bring their various networks together in a familiar and consolidated user experience. It is one of my favorite new capabilities in Office!
These are just a few examples of the ways we plan to make Office 2010 impactful and accessible for our customers. The cloud represents an expansion of opportunity for us, and opens up huge new opportunities for us to provide our solutions to more people. We are evolving our business to seize these opportunities, and are really excited about reaching more customers to help them in deeper and broader ways. You should check it out for yourself at www.office.com/beta.
-- Takeshi Numoto
Corporate Vice President, Office