Microsoft Office Mobile 2010 Debuts As Free Windows Mobile App for 6.5

After a public beta release late last year, Office Mobile 2010 officially debuts today, along with the release of the full desktop version of Microsoft Office 2010, bringing updated versions of core Microsoft productivity tools such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint to the mobile computing workforce.

The one caveat to Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Office Mobile 2010, however, is that it is available at the Windows Phone Marketplace as a free upgrade for Windows Mobile 6.5 users. This means it's news for the vast legacy base of Windows Mobile clients but may not be so noteworthy for those holding out for Microsoft's new mobile platform, Windows Phone 7, which is widely expected to boast a slick Office Hub interface that includes document management and SharePoint features.

"With Office Mobile, people can work with Office documents stored on their phone, attached to an e-mail, and can browse, edit, and update documents stored on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 site. SharePoint intranet sites and communities also help people collaborate, regardless of location," according to Microsoft's product release.

Nice Upgrade for Microsoft Windows Mobile Software Set

Analyst Jack Gold, president of the tech research and consulting firm J. Gold Associates, said he believes the new mobile suite from Microsoft will have little impact on the overall mobile market, but will make mobile computing easier for legacy Windows Mobile users -- if they've upgraded to Office 2010.

"How many businesses have switched to Office 2010? If they haven't, this upgrade won't matter. I guess if you’re a WinMo 6.5 user and want to have a better editor and do more with PowerPoint files, this is important. But the market for WinMo is shrinking fast, so this won’t have major impact. It certainly won’t get people to go out and buy WinMo.

"That said, I do expect that most users of WinMo work with Office docs on their devices, even if only as attachments to email, and anything Microsoft can do to make it easier to do so is good. So bottom line, I think this will have minimum effect on the market and may help some users more affectively work with Office docs, but won’t stem the tide of defections off the platform. It’ll be interesting to see if this functionality makes it on to WP7 when it’s released," said Gold.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Office 2010 includes new versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as online versions of the apps grouped into a family called Office Web, which are free. Additionally, Microsoft also issued SharePoint 2010, a collaboration suite.

The major upgrade of Microsoft's flagship office productivity suite comes at a time when the software giant is focusing on expanding its Web-based, or cloud computing, services as Google's online Google Apps suite begins to gain traction in the business software market.

"Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 define the future of productivity," Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft's business division, said in a statement. "With the 2010 set of products, organizations will save, innovate, and grow as their people benefit from working across the PC, phone and browser."

TAGS:

cloud computing, Microsoft, Windows Mobile, Windows Mobile software, Windows Mobile 6.5

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