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CNET News Video: Talking Office 2010 with Stephen Elop
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CNET News Video: Talking Office 2010 with Stephen Elop

6:01 /

The head of Microsoft's Business Division drops by CNET's San Francisco office to talk with Ina Fried about how Microsoft is finding new ways to sell and deliver its venerable Office suite.

^B00:00:05 >> Ina Fried: I'm Ina Fried with CNET News I'm here with Steven Elop who's the head of Microsoft's Business Unit which includes Office and one of the reasons you're here is Office 2010, it's just around the corner. You guys are finishing up beta testing. It's just about on the market. >> Steven Elop: That's correct Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, a variety of other products are landing literally in the days and weeks ahead so we're very excited about that. >> Ina: Now we've talked a lot about some of the key changes that are coming with Office 2010 particularly the browser based applications but one of the experiences it's also changing in some degree is the way you buy Office and so I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about that. What are some of the new ways that you'll be able to buy Office coming with 2010? >> Steven: That's a great question because if you're an individual interested in experiencing and purchasing Office there's a number of different things that are happening. For example, if you go and buy a new personal computer, about 80% of the computers out there will have a version of Office called Office Starter on it and Office Starter allows you right out of the box to get started with Microsoft Word and Excel, scaled down versions of those, but the full Office bits are on that computer, so the good news is when you make the decision to purchase all of Office, you simply need something called a product key card, basically the code to unlock it, the bits are all there and the installation process is simplified for you dramatically. So that's one great new example of simplifying the purchase process. >> Ina: So as compared to the past in the past what you would have had was maybe your computer came with a free version of Works and then a trial version of Office so you kind of had to decide am I gonna buy the full thing or am I gonna use this you know word processor but it wasn't really compatible now you'll have something that's free and fully compatible, but limited in features, and then if you want office you don't have to download any new software you just enter this code. >> Steven: That's exactly right, just enter the code and carry on. So that's one important innovation for new computer purchasers. For those people who may have an existing computer and want to take advantage of Office 2010, perhaps on a trial basis, they can download something called our click to run technology which is a streaming version Office so you can get started even as the bits continue to stream, again vastly simplifying the installation experience, so you can very quickly get up to speed with that product. >> Ina: And we talk a lot you know we write about application virtualization and it sounds very uninteresting and technical and that's actually the technology that allows this to happen though. Basically you're running an application that's running off of Microsoft servers until the bits get down to your machine and then you're running it locally. >> Steven: That's right the bits are being streamed down and you're right talking about application virtualization isn't so exciting but when we can say within minutes, single digit minutes, you can be up and running with the Office experience on an existing PC, that's a great value proposition for customers. >>Ina: And this stuff is really important to Microsoft because you guys have always competed against free but you've never competed in the same way against always in the cloud, always available as long as you have an internet connection, you guys are doing that competing in a different way with the Office web applications. What kinds of experiences are people doing now that you've had some time with them testing it? What kinds of things are people doing with the Office web apps? >> So that Office web applications are browser based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and One Note and the type of scenarios we see coming together there include for example co-Authoring within Excel, where you may have 2 people in 2 different locations working on the same Excel spreadsheet, at the same time seeing each other's edits and working through something together. So that's a popular scenario that's enabled by the presence of those applications on the internet. Another great example is PowerPoint broadcasting where if you've created a PowerPoint presentation and you want to present that to a group of people who may all be on their PCs in one room or scattered around the world, you can very simply turn your presentation into a broadcast presentation over the internet, and have everyone participate. So these are things that are supported through the use of the cloud and the internet. >> Ina: And how much has the conversation shifted now that you guys are pretty much out there with what you are doing with business customers? Are they still using Google apps in the same way in terms of as a leverage point to try and drive down price or how has the competitive discussion with customers changed? >> Steven: I think we're in an environment now where customers fully appreciate the value of what we have and are delivering with Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 and so forth so we are talking to them for example about what SharePoint does for their development community. We're talking to them about how the new versions of Office both in the browser, on the mobile device, and on the PC are improving productivity and as they look into these things they see that value and they're very aggressively making decisions towards you know the new versions of these products. Just as an example: we have over 6 million people who have downloaded the beta versions of the Office client. Many of those in a corporate setting as well as in a consumer setting but that is approximately double the rate of use of the beta products that we saw with Office 2007 so there's a lot of interest and a lot of excitement around these products. >> Ina: And the biggest other shift that we've seen is businesses are actually spending money again, they are forecasting that they will be doing some upgrading. My sense is last couple of years businesses have been talking but it's mostly been theoretical about what they might do if they did upgrade their machines, now we're actually seeing some of that is that what you're seeing? >> Steven: We're certainly hopeful that improvements in business spending are immediately ahead so we're hopeful that we'll see that at the same time when you think about Windows 7, Office 2010, perhaps the fact that there has been a period of time where people haven't refreshed PCs but need to do so, I think there's a number of factors coming together where customers are saying you know this is a great time to move forward and we're seeing the early signs of that. >> Great well there's gonna be obviously a lot coming up. You guys have the business launch on May 12th of Office 2010 and then it's gonna hit shelves somewhere time in June is that right? >> Steven: Yeah roughly mid June is when we're planning to do that so it'll be in the first half of this year for sure. >> Ina: Great thanks. >> Steven: Thank you. [ Music ]

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