So ... If you are wondering what fun features the next MS Office will have well then look no further! Here in a nutshell are the main 2010 changes of interest:
1) Updated Menu system:
Office 2007 was a bit of a pain with a confusing "stuff-everything-into-an-unintuitive-top-bar" setup. The new office has been rewired up such that when you select a different group of settings, the entire page changes color and focuses specifically on this section of tabs (removing all others). Whether this is good or bad I'm not sure - but personally I preferred the old school drop down menus - why change something so intuitive and usability friendly??
2) Deeper Multimedia Editing:
For the graphically challenged amongst us (i.e. those that know Photoshop about as well as they know Mandarin), the new Office offers up a nice suite of basic image and video tweaking tools. So once you have your documents all prepared you can simply make your edits within Office, without having to redo something you have missed and then reimport etc.
3) Real-time interaction:
For what it's worth you will be able to chat with your IM buddies while editting a word document ... erm I wonder if this isn't a ploy by Microsoft to continue in their (ever failing efforts) to take over the universe. It seems a little pointless to me; feels like Microsoft is trying to glue all the parts together without making sure the puzzle makes sense first. I don't really understand this new feature but we will see how it takes on I suppose. It's almost as it MS has asked their programmers to start doing the job of their business analysts; That is, make it work then figure out what is really need - cart before the horse.
4) Better security:
The new Office 2010 reworks the author settings, restricted editing, and adds a protected mode, which stops you from accidentally editing a file you download until you enable it. This has some use I spose as we have all accidentally changed a word doc entirely by accident and ... eh no - again I don't see much use in this; maybe it becomes useful when collaborating with others but I don't see anything ground breaking here.
5) Web Apps:
It seems Microsoft have finally gotten something right. I remember back in the day when the earlier versions of Office were just germinating and I thought to myself how useful it would be to have these tools online ... then Google took the initiative with Google Docs. At last Microsoft has decided to move in the direction of Web Apps to provide this much needed functionality. The ubiquitous nature of the Web just screams out for MS Office 2010 to finally go online. The specifics aren't clear yet but from all accounts it will be at least one thing we can take as a useful development from the new Office bag of tricks.
In summary, what with Bing being rubbish, Vista being a disaster and Windows 7 being nothing ground breaking I am starting to wonder about Microsoft's future. Will MS still be around in 2025? Either MS is about to unveil some amazingly shiny/sparkly new invention that will have us all bowing down once again like the old days, or Microsoft is on it's last legs. Bill all is forgiven, come home and save us.