Microsoft prepares free upgrade program for Office buyers

Just like it does with Windows to keep the bottom from dropping out of the market in the months prior to the launch of a new release, Microsoft does the same with Office via its Tech Guarantee program. It looks like that free-upgrade program is about to begin for Office 2010.

The upgrade program runs between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.

Customers who buy a copy of Office 2007 during that period — with or without a new PC — from a participating reseller will qualify for the promotion.

To qualify, customers must activate their copies of Office 2007 by September 30 and request their free upgrade to Office 2010 by October 31.

Those who are eligible will get a free download of Office 2010 (discs will be available for a shipping and handling fee)

Microsoft is rapidly approaching the finish line with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. This week, Microsoft made the near-final Release Candidate (RC) of Office 2010 available to participants in its Technology Adoption Program (TAP). The company is not planning to make the RC more broadly available. Release to manufacturing could happen any time, but it’s likely to happen this spring. Microsoft officials have said the final code will be available by June for sure. Microsoft execs said last year to expect SharePoint 2010 to be released alongside Office 2010.

Microsoft has already revealed the planned version line-up for Office 2010 as well as the system requirements shown below for the final Office 2010 product.

A PC with these minimum recommended specifications:
•500 MHz 32-bit or 64-bit processor or higher
•256 MB of system memory or more
•3.5 GB of available disk space
•1024×768 or higher resolution monitor
•DVD-R/W Drive

Supported Operating Systems:
•Windows XP with Service Pack (SP) 3 (32-bit)
•Windows Vista with SP1 (32-bit or 64-bit)
•Windows Server 2003 R2 (32-bit or 64-bit) with MSXLM 6.0 installed
•Windows Server 2008 with SP2 (32-bit or 64-bit)
•Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)
•Terminal Server and windows on Windows (WOW) (which allows installing 32-bit versions of Office 2010 on 64-bit operating systems) are supported.
*Please note these specifications could change.

Still not sure you want or even need Office 2010? You can check out the Office Home and Business 2010 Beta release at no charge – the download is still available and it’s FREE: http://us1.office2010beta.microsoft.com/default.aspx?culture=en-US

You can review my December 28th 2009 blog post on Office 2010 Beta here.

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