Microsoft Office 2010 hits retail today

The latest installment of Office, Microsoft's long-running productivity suite was slated for a June release, and today is the day it lands in retail.

Yesterday, popular office supply store Staples sent out a mass email saying "Microsoft Office 2010 is Here!" with a link to a pre-order site, but we checked three local Staples stores in the Baltimore metro area, and none of them had the software stocked on shelves yet.

This morning, however, Microsoft made the Office 2010 retail launch official, and the software is now available in more than 35,000 retail stores worldwide; including Best Buy, Office Depot, Fnac, Harvey Norman, and PC World.

Office 2010's beta phase was dramatically larger than it had been with previous versions, with some 9 million downloads from MSDN and TechNet.

Some highlights of Office 2010:

  • All Office 2010 applications now use the "Ribbon" interface.
  • Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Publisher all have picture editing tools: crop, control brightness and contrast, sharpen or soften, and visual effects, and Powerpoint now has the ability to edit and embed videos.
  • PowerPoint Broadcast Slideshow: lets you deliver presentations over the Web to up to 100 people.
  • Increased synchronization with Office Live "cloud" tools such as SkyDrive, letting you collaborate and edit Office documents online with co-authoring functionality.
  • "Backstage View": save, share, print and publish documents across different Office applications from a single interface, vastly improving printing functionality.
  • Improved Outlook interface and integration with third-party Web services such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

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