"It lets your average person feel like a professional publisher," said Capossela.
New tools aren't the only changes Microsoft plans for Office 2010. The company has reduced the number of versions from eight to five. Businesses can choose from Office Standard and Office Professional Plus. The latter includes Sharepoint, Infopath, and other enterprise features.
Consumers will have the choice between Office Home and Student, Office Home and Business—which includes Outlook—and Office Pro, which "has just about everything," said Caposella.
Gone from the consumer lineup are Office Ultimate and Office Small Business. "We wanted to make it easier for people to figure out which version of Office is right for them," said Caposella.
In terms of formats, Office 2010 will offer native support for Office Open XML—a Microsoft developed standard that's been approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—and the open source Open Document Format. The company has also published full notes for the methods it used to implement the specifications in a nod to third-party developers. "We went above and beyond" in terms of standards support, said Caposella.
Microsoft on Monday released a technical preview of Office 2010 to selected developers at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. It plans to introduce a beta version of the suite later this year and ship a final product in the first half of next calendar year.
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