Friday, April 17, 2009

Office 2010 will come in 32-bit, 64-bit flavors

Last month, a very believable rumor started flying around in regard to Office 2010 shipping in 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Check out ZDNet and Within Windows to see how the conclusion was drawn. Everything pointed to Microsoft finally offering a 64-bit flavor of its Office suite, previous versions of which have only shipped in 32-bit or 16-bit flavors. In an e-mail exchange with Ars today, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that Office 2010 will be available in both flavors: "Yes, Office will have two separate 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Office 2010 will be the first to do this." 

That's right, 64-bit versions of Windows will no longer have to emulate a 32-bit environment in order to run Office 2010, provided that the user has the 64-bit version installed. With 64-bit OS usage rapidly growing (thanks to Vista, if you're asking Microsoft), it's good to see that the next version of Office, expected to arrive sometime next year, will come in both versions. This should significantly help 64-bit adoption, not only because Office is one of the most-used products, but because other vendors (think Adobe or Sun) are likely to follow in Microsoft's footsteps when it comes to offering the next version of their products. For those wondering, Office 4.3 was the last 16-bit version, and Office 95 was the first 32-bit version (to match Windows 95). 

Screenshots of the alpha version of Office 2010 leaked in January. Before Office 2010 arrives, though, Microsoft will ship Service Pack 2 for Office 2007 this month. The company is opening up a bit more in regards to the next wave of its Office-related products, so keep an eye out on more news in the next few days. 

It looks like Microsoft isn't just talking more about Office 2010, but Office 2007 as well. SP2 now has a more specific date, thanks to the Microsoft Update Product Team Blog: April 28. That's exactly two weeks from now, so try to sit tight!

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