Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

Summary: Microsoft released a bunch of public betas of various Office 2010 products this week. But it also released another one under non-disclosure to a select group of testers: Office Starter 2010. Microsoft made the code for Office Starter 2010 available to select testers via its Connect Web site late this week.

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Microsoft released a bunch of public betas of various Office 2010 products this week. But it also released another one under non-disclosure to a select group of testers: Office Starter 2010.

Microsoft made the code for Office Starter 2010 available to select testers via its Connect Web site late this week. Office Starter 2010, as Microsoft officials have disclosed previously, Office Starter 2010 is the replacement for Microsoft Works. It will be free and ad-supported, includes Word and Excel only and allows only basic document viewing and editing.

There's one new feature in Office Starter 2010 that I had not heard about previously. It's called "Office to GO," according to testers with whom I spoke, who asked not to be named. Office to GO is installed using the Click-to-Run setup that is part of Office 2010. (Click to Run is one of the new ways Microsoft is planning to distribute the Office 2010 bits. It streams the bits onto a user's PC using virtualization technology so that users can be up and running with Office more quickly than if they had to wait for the entire product to download.)

The Office to GO application allows users to download Word Starter, Excel Starter and any related documents to a USB drive that users can then run onany  Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or Windows 7 PC, according to the aforementioned tester.

Office Starter 2010 also includes a permanent sidebar that includes links to a Gettting Started guide, help and support, templates and clip art, and an "upgrade to a paid version now" (with PowerPoint and/or Outlook) setting. Here's what that sidebar looks like (click on the image to enlarge):

I've asked Microsoft for more details about Office to GO and will add anything I get back to this post.

Update (November 23): Here's the statement I received from a Microsoft spokesperson regarding my questions on Office to GO:

“Office Starter To-Go is a product where Office Starter users can create a USB device that temporarily enables them to use Word Starter and Excel Starter on another PC on as long as the USB device is plugged in.  The technology used by Office Starter To-Go, is similar to how “Click-to-Run” works in that the USB device is being used as the server for a version of Starter on the device.  When the device is removed from a PC, Office Starter To-Go is also removed. Starter To-Go is only part of Office Starter edition that is pre-installed on new PC’s.  It cannot be installed on a separate PC, but it gives our customers the ability to take their Office with them and use it on any PC to open and work with their Word and Excel documents.”

Meanwhile, in other Office 2010 news from this week, I have a bit of additional information about the Office Web Apps public beta that Microsoft released to testers this week.

As Microsoft officials have said before, Office Web Apps -- the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote -- will be available in three versions. One will be free and ad-supported and aimed at consumers. The consumer version, which is tied to Microsoft's SkyDrive, is what Microsoft released as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build to selected testers this past summer. Microsoft officials told me this week that the final version of the free Office Web Apps product will be released in conjunction with Windows Live Wave 4 (which sounds as if it is a "spring 2010" kind of thing).

There also are going to be two business-focused versions of Office Web Apps that are going to be available as paid subscription offerings: One that will be available to enterprise customers to run on-premises and one that will be hosted by Microsoft. The beta that went out this week is the on-premises business version of the Office Web Apps release. To be clear: It's not the updated beta version of the consumer test build that Microsoft released earlier this fall. (It sounds like the consumer version of Office Web Apps may not get a new public build refresh before it is released in final form this spring.)

The business versions require SharePoint Server on the back end. Microsoft's Office Web Apps team did a blog post earlier this week explaining more about the Office Web Apps-SharePoint tie-in. That post includes this diagram:

I'm interested in hearing more from anyone who's test-driving the new Office Web Apps beta and/or Office Starter 2010. How are the products shaping up? What's working or not for you?

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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26 comments
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  • Installing SP2010, Office 2010, and VS 2010 now...

    Should have a working environment by this weekend.

    The graphic at the bottom of the article should also include two of the more exciting services in 2010 - Access Services (for hosting database driven forms and reports) and Visio Services, for publishing data mashups and diagram visualization.
    crazydanr@...
    • RE: Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

      @crazydanr@... <br>I like office starter I think it is a good idea to have this basic functionality with a new windows system.
      M4ylee
  • Microsoft Works

    Although this replaces Microsoft Works, it lacks a scaled down version of Access equivalent to the Works Database and the calendar and standalone dictionary which Works had. I doubt it would include as many templates as Works OOTB and would put everything online. Works 9.0 while visually sucky was quite a full featured suite. Office Starter may end up crippling/dropping lots of its features and promote Anytime Upgrades to Office Home & Student.
    xp-client
    • To be fair

      It could be something to do with Anti trust
      cases, also windows Vista has both a
      calendar and contact manager.
      The only thing that is missing is the
      database but most people won't use it.
      We have yet to see how Ms. Play this they could just sell individual apps too, last
      time I checked works was not free.



      We have yet to use
      jdbukis@...
      • Vista Calendar

        Vista's Calendar is removed in Windows 7 and the "replacement" in Live Mail is only a calendar with ability to store events. No subscribing to or publishing iCalendar .ICS files and importing yearly holidays. Sort of useless.
        xp-client
        • They are making a widget though.

          http://wlcalendargadget.codeplex.com/

          And its comaptible with .ics too.
          jdbukis@...
    • Database

      Don't forget that SQL2008 has a free version. It's no Access, but it does give a lot of features that can be used for many projects.

      You can create DB forms in Word, but not sure if you can do this in the Starter 2010 Word yet.
      Narg
      • Works database is simple

        I hardly think the people that use Works will not what the heck to do w/ SQL server 2008!
        dpatjhh
  • RE: Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

    While Office Starter is for new PC's, Microsoft has forgotten
    about those who don't need a new one-have you asked them
    about any plans for that market segment?

    They need to have a Access Express and a Works portfolio
    app to be truly a replacement for pre-installed Works on pc's
    babyap2002@...
  • RE: Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

    obody can ignore the existence of <a href="http://www.christianlouboutinshoesstore.com/">Christian Louboutin shoes</a> in the fashion world.
    kakijing
    • That depends

      ...on who is wearing them ([i]lol, and what size they are[/i])
      Raid6
  • RE: Office Starter 2010 private beta, with 'Office to GO,' goes to testers

    And what makes <a href="http://www.christianlouboutinshoesstore.com/christian-louboutin-forever-tina-black-p-195.html">Christian shoes</a> so remarkable? Its exquisite quality, fine craftsmanship, sexy high heels, quirky designs and of course the red outsole known as the symbol of <a href="http://www.christianlouboutinshoesstore.com/">Christian Louboutin</a> shoes.
    kakijing
  • Why no paid-for version

    Office Starter is all most people will need. Why not a
    paid-for version that doesn't include the sidebar and
    ads?
    brian.shapiro
    • It's there, if you do want it...

      The "paid for" version is done through the advertising in Starter 2010 versions. Just install the Starter version and you'll immediately see an "Upgrade" link that will allow you to purchase and download/install (it's a no-brainer process) the full featured versions.
      Narg
  • OneNote in the cloud?

    Sign me up!
    ericesque
    • Yes - I love OneNote...awesome tool - nt

      nt
      ItsTheBottomLine
  • I've tried the Starter package, and...

    I love it! I installed it on my daughter's laptop (replacing open office) and she cranked out a science fair project paper in no time. Formatting with proper headers and all. SHE'S ONLY 9 YEARS OLD! And, I've never trained her on using MS Word. All I can say is Fantastic! It was really a piece of cake for her to use it right away. I also saw the USB drive feature, but didn't get a chance to test it yet.

    As long as MS keeps the advertising part in check (I saw a little, and it wasn't too bad), this should be a no-brainer install on every new PC that leaves any OEM.
    Narg
    • You sound just like Loverock Davidson or Mike Cox would

      which one of their styles are you trying to copy?
      Over and Out
  • Office Starter 2010 = Another M$ paid for Malware intrance

    Just another way to exploit the end user ....Aren't we all just so lucky M$ is doing this for us :-(
    Over and Out
  • A non-disclosure agreement from Microsoft?

    An NDA (non-disclosure agreement) from Microsoft? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha... see www.tadag.com to see how much value Microsoft places on their NDAs.
    David Gale