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Broader Microsoft Office 2010 test program to kick off in July

Office 2010 will begin rolling out to a wider cross-section of testers starting this July, according to Microsoft officials.Company execs are telling attendees of this week's Microsoft TechEd 2009 conference to expect the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of Office 2010 in July, as rumored for a while now.
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Office 2010 will begin rolling out to a wider cross-section of testers starting this July, according to Microsoft officials.

Company execs are telling attendees of this week's Microsoft TechEd 2009 conference to expect the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of Office 2010 in July, as rumored for a while now. (Until today, the only timing Microsoft was providing officially on the Office 2010 CTP was that it was due in the third calendar quarter of this year.)

The first CTP -- which Microsoft is planning to make available to thousands of invited testers in waves -- will include as part of Wave 1 attendees of the TechEd conference. The Office 2010 client and SharePoint Server 2010 products, as well as the Web-based versions of several Office 2010 applications (known as Office Web Applications) all will be part of the CTP bits.

Microsoft has been testing Office 2010, the family of products formerly known as Office 14, via a private alpha test since January 2009.

Microsoft has said there will be a broad public beta of Office 2010 some time between the tech preview and release to manufacturing. RTM is slated for the first half of 2010. Microsoft has not dicslosed how many betas are planned or the timing of the beta/betas for Office 2010.

At TechEd this week, Microsoft also is sharing a few more details about the next version of Microsoft's database, codenamed "Kilimanjaro." That product will be named SQL Server 2008 R2 when it ships in the first half of 2010. A Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of that product is due early in the second half of 2009. (I'm betting around July, just like Office 2010.)

Microsoft is touting "self-service business intelligence" as one of the biggest selling points of SQL Server 2008 R2. But SQL Server 2008 R2 also is going include Microsoft's "Bulldog" master data management technology as part of it. (Yes, Microsoft did say back in October that MDM would not be part of the Kilimanjaro release. But now they are admitting that it will be.) The working (and possibly final) name for Bulldog is Master Data Services. Microsoft officials will be showing off Master Data Services at the TechEd show this week, and detailing how it will "light up" when used with Office 2010.

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