RealTime IT News

Office 2010 Beta Testers: One Million Strong

Users are so eager to get their hands on the beta of the next major release of Microsoft Office that they've gone download crazy.

That's the word from a tweet sent by Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Business Division on Thursday afternoon.

"Office 2010 beta hits 1 million downloads, in just 2 weeks! Very proud," Elop's tweet said. (Tweets on the Twitter microblogging service can only be 140 characters long, so they tend to brutalize good grammar due to its limitations.)

Microsoft officially kicked off the beta test of Office 2010 on November 18 at its annual Professional Developers Conference 2010 in Los Angeles.

Now that the lid is off the jar, increasing numbers of details have started coming out from Microsoft's Office team.

Tuesday, for example, officials confirmed that Office 2010 is slated to ship in June 2010 -- a much more clear statement of intent than Microsoft's previous mantra of "by the end of the first half of the year," which of course, is also the end of June. Still, the Office team has a history of delivering updates to Microsoft's desktop productivity application suite on time.

Prospective testers going gaga over the latest beta of a major Microsoft desktop product is nothing new.

In January 2009, avid testers hungry to kick the tires on the only beta of Windows 7 caused server crashes due to high download demand. Ultimately, Microsoft opened that beta to more than 2.5 million testers.

So far, at least, there have been no reports of server crashes or unavailability for testers downloading Office 2010.

The large numbers of testers involved in Windows 7 as well as limits on changes that could be triggered by beta users' feedback likely had a lot to do with the relatively bug-free release of the new operating system in late October.

While there have been a small handful of security bugs that have been found so far, by and large, Windows 7 has been remarkably clear of the kinds of problems that dogged, for instance, Windows Vista's early days in release.

Users interested in participating in the beta test of Office 2010, can sign up online.