Seeds for Office 2010 Success Laid During Beta

Editor’s Note
– June 17, 2010 – Portions of this feature were updated to include launch event details from around the world.

REDMOND, Wash., June 15, 2010 — The world of work is changing, and today Microsoft introduced new tools to help everyone keep pace.

Microsoft officially released its Office 2010 productivity suite to the general public today, celebrating with launch events in dozens of countries worldwide. Activities ranged from a rock concert in Singapore to a World Cup-themed launch in South Africa.

In Redmond, CEO Steve Ballmer called the launch of Office 2010 a milestone. “This new release of Office 2010 is an epic release,” Ballmer said. “Today, people from Seattle to Sydney can ‘Make It Great’ as Office 2010 is available in 35,000 stores around the world. This may be the biggest release of Office in the company’s history, following one of the most successful beta releases ever.”

Meanwhile in New York City, Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft, officially launched Office 2010. A 4,000-square-foot art studio overlooking the Hudson River was transformed into a loft apartment where members of the media saw a demo of the new software. Capossela, decked out in “Office orange” Chuck Taylors for the occasion, was joined by several participants of the Real Life Stories campaign, which featured real Office 2010 users who talked about their experiences with the beta.

The updated software will help businesses and consumers navigate the new world of work, says Capossela. Customers can now get their hands on updated versions of the suite’s popular apps, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and OneNote. “The amazing thing about technology is that it’s constantly changing, so people’s expectations for what productivity means is constantly evolving, too,” he says. “There are new ways of working, and whether that’s new content people want to work with or new styles of collaborating, we’re bringing them to the masses with Office 2010.”

The World Cup-frenzied masses in South Africa who happened to walk by Microsoft’s local subsidiary might have noticed a football-inspired celebration for the launch. “Life is mad here,” Marianne Marais, Office marketing manager based in Johannesburg says of the atmosphere in South Africa. “It’s like a Carnival in the streets.” Just before the World Cup kicked off in South Africa, the outside of Microsoft’s main building on campus was transformed into a soccer pitch, complete with Office 2010 logo.

In Singapore, more than 600 people attended the Office Idea Jam, “an event by the people, for the people,” says Rashish Pandey, Office marketing manager for local subsidiary. The idea for the rock concert came from a Facebook contest, he explains. Guests listened to local band 53A and 15-year-old DJ Pietre and watched demos of the new software.

According to figures revealed today by comScore, an Internet marketing research firm, Microsoft Office has been installed on more than 1 billion PCs worldwide. Capossela says that just under a third of those installations use the 2007 version, with the rest working on Office 2003 or older versions. Microsoft and its partners see an incredible opportunity to deliver Office 2010 to new and existing Office customers around the world. People should try out or upgrade to Office 2010, Capossela says, because the productivity suite is loaded with new features that reflect the changing wants and needs of consumers.

“If the world around us wasn’t changing, then older versions of Office would be just fine,” he says. “The good news for Microsoft and consumers is that there are always new things coming that change the way people think about how they communicate, collaborate and create content.”

For example, in Office 2010, new photo and video editing capabilities have been added, a response to the explosion of rich media that’s taking place online. Social networking features are another big highlight, Capossela says. Outlook, for example, has become a much more social experience with the Social Connector, a feature that connects a user’s inbox to social and business networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace.

Microsoft also is releasing Office Web Apps, free online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. With these, Microsoft is giving users access to their Office content no matter where they are. “That completes our story about providing the best productivity experience on the PC, phone and browser,” Capossela says.

June 14, 2010
Chris Capossela, senior VP of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft, and sporting “Office orange” Chuck Taylors, celebrates the launch of Office 2010 with customers and members of the media, in New York.

All of these features proved popular during the beta trial, the largest ever for Office. The Office 2010 beta was downloaded more than 9 million times, and a Microsoft survey found that 90 percent of beta users say Office 2010 is better than the finished version of 2007, with 75 percent of beta users saying they plan to buy Office 2010 within six months. This enthusiastic response is one reason why Capossela says he’s optimistic that people will make the move.

To help promote Office 2010, Microsoft is enlisting some of those beta testers. The Real Life Stories campaign, which has been going on for a year, and the Make It Great campaign, which starts today, both feature real people who used Office 2010 to work smarter. The extensive ad campaign featuring those stories will primarily be digital. A big target of the advertising and marketing will be parents who work, so the campaign will highlight parents at home, demonstrating how Office can make them and their families more productive.

“We know that it’s far more impactful when a real customer stands up and talks about our products in a real, enthusiastic way,” Capossela says, “so we’re trying to capture the massive enthusiasm that our install base has for Office and use that as a way to talk about Office 2010.”

Additionally, there is the momentum that Windows 7 has created. “Many business customers skipped Vista, so they’re running an old version of Office,” Capossela explains. Microsoft expects an uptick for Windows 7 adoption in the enterprise, and typically, when companies roll out a new operating system, they also roll out the latest version of Office.

“With the wind at our backs because of Windows 7, plus the consumer excitement about Office 2010 product, we think that’s a wonderful environment for us to be in, and it will lead to much higher adoption rates than for Office 2007 or Office 2003,” Capossela says.

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