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MS Office 2010 hits the release candidate stage

Office 2010 hits the release candidate stage
Microsoft has provided some early testers with a near-final "release candidate" version of Office 2010 as the software maker works to make the suite broadly available in June.

"Microsoft made a release candidate available to members in the technology adoption program (TAP)," a Microsoft representative told CNET. "This is one of Microsoft's planned milestones in the engineering process; however (we) do not have plans to make this new code set available broadly."

A beta version of Office 2010 was released in November and had been downloaded 2 million times, as of last month.

The company officially started public testing of the product with a Technology Preview version that was released in July, although an earlier version of that code leaked out in May.

Office 2010 features a variety of improvements to each of the core programs, but maintains the XML file formats and ribbon interface introduced with Office 2007. Probably the biggest change is the addition of companion, browser-based versions of Excel, Word, OneNote and PowerPoint, known as Office Web Apps. Also, for the first time, Microsoft will offer both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of the software.

Meanwhile, Windows enthusiasts have also spotted an update build of Windows 7--build 7700--making the rounds. According to Neowin, a Russian Web site has posted leaked screenshots of build 7700 of the operating system. However, it's not clear from the images just how much is new in that build.

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