Microsoft released on November 18 the public beta of Office 2010. It can be downloaded by anyone for free, as of 1 pm ET today.
Microsoft is making available several different versions of Office, as well as a beta of SharePoint Server 2010 to interested testers, includingMicrosoft Office 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, Visio 2010, Project 2010 and Office Web Apps (the on-premise, business version that is tied to SharePoint Server, not the consumer one that is connected to SkyDrive). The betas are available at www.microsoft.com/2010.
Microsoft made the Office 2010 beta bits available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers for download on November 16.
Microsoft is aiming to launch the final version of all of these Office products, as well as SharePoint 2010 by May/June 2010.
Update: Microsoft also released a beta today of Office Mobile 2010. That beta -- for a slimmed-down version of Office that runs on Windows Mobile -- can be downloaded it through the Windows Mobile Marketplace for Windows Mobile 6.5 phones.
Update No. 2: The Office team also made good on its hints that it would deliver some kind of new social-networking capability to the product. From the Office 2010 Engineering blog:
"The New Outlook Social Connector brings your communications history, business and social networking feeds right into Outlook, helping you quickly keep track of conversations and stay up-to-date with co-workers, friends and family without switching programs or changing your routine. Today’s beta supports SharePoint social networking and will support Windows Live when Office launches. The business networking site LinkedIn will be the first to provide a connector for the Outlook Social Connector early next year."
More details on that Connector are available on the Outlook blog. LinkedIn is being integrated into the public beta of Microsoft Outlook 2010. Users will be able to maintain their LinkedIn contacts and stay up-to-date on their activities inside their Outlook inbox using the new Social Connector.