The release date for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 is out and about, but not everyone is happy with some of the details. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says the company has ambitions with this release for a fully functioning Office in the cloud.

Microsoft Aims For Office In The Cloud

The big news this week is, of course, is the announcement of definitive dates for the release of SharePoint  2010 (news, site)  and Microsoft Office (news, site). It’s on May 12 (for businesses) and June for home users, if you haven’t been paying attention.

You may also have come across Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s speech at the University of Washington where he outlined the company’s plan for its products and the cloud.

In his outline of Microsoft’s vision of the cloud, he described Office 2010 and the company’s ambition to run it from the cloud as the “most mainstream” effort Microsoft would be doing in cloud computing.

We're really taking Microsoft Office to the cloud, letting it run in the cloud, letting it run from the cloud, helping it let people connect and communicate and express themselves . . . That's one of the core kind of technical ambitions behind the next release of our Office product . . .” he said.

And already, 90% of the companies Microsoft is working with are happy to go with the elements of Office that are already in the cloud with “lot of good work . . . still going on for the consumer”.

Microsoft also plans to give its corporate customers the option of hosting the Web-based version of Office 2010 on their own servers in order to give them more control of the product.

Office 2010 Tech Guarantee Outlined

Speaking of Microsoft Office, details of the Technology Guarantee that will accompany the release of Office 2010 were finally explained by Jevon Fark, Sr. Marketing Manager for Microsoft Office on the Office 2010 Engineering blog.

And not everyone is happy. The Guarantee goes like this: consumers who have purchased and activated Office 2007 since March 5 and who purchase it up until September 30 will be able to download Office 2010 at no additional cost when it becomes available in June 2010.

To be eligible you need to:

  • Purchase Office 2007, or a new PC with Office 2007, and activate it between March 5, 2010 and September 30, 2010.
  • Have, or create a Windows Live ID.
  • Redeem your Tech Guarantee before October 31

You will not be eligible for it if if you have Office 2007 through a volume license (typically business owners with five computers or more), promotional or not-for-resale copies, or bought Office 2007 through the Home Use Rights or Student Select programs.

However, some users say they feel “snubbed” by the fact that only those who purchased it after March 5 will be covered by the guarantee. Many of the comments on Fark’s post are from users in that situation and they’re just not happy.

Office 2010 will be available online and on retail shelves in June. Until then, you can can always use the Office 2010 beta.

SaaS BPM Is Finding Friends

New market research from Datamonitor (news, site) is showing that many business process management vendors will have to look at their application in the cloud because of the success of the SaaS model.

The strategic focus entitled SaaS BPM: Silencing the Skeptics says that now is the right time for BPM vendors to make their SaaS strategy mainstream.

While demand in the on-premises BPM market continues unabated, SaaS BPM is slowly finding acceptance in certain pockets of the BPM market. The research indicates that lower entry costs, broader reach and faster time to deployment could endear SaaS BPM offerings to customers that are comfortable with the cloud computing application delivery model.

Another reason it is becoming attractive is that many business processes are carried-out using resources outside an organization, such as BPO, SaaS customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and cloud infrastructure.

The result is that as the number of external influences in a process grow, it will become imperative for BPM to be able to customize the external services it consumes.

However, the effect of SaaS BPM offerings on the BPM market will be complementary rather than negative. The SaaS model will boost the proliferation of BPM and help BPM reach a larger user base. Interested in more?

Healthcare Mistrusts The Cloud

BridgeHead Software (news, site), a developer of healthcare data management software, unveiled partial preliminary results of its Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, which shows that only 6.5% of respondents would use cloud storage for archived data.

Furthermore, only 33% noted their organization plans to adopt a cloud storage strategy for any data over the next 12-24 months. The online survey, launched on February 9, is designed to assess healthcare's preparedness for the massive volume of data generated by the industry's reliance upon information.

More than 80% say that the most significant factor influencing decisions about utilizing cloud storage is concern about security and availability of data. Respondents also cited cost and a lack of conviction that cloud storage offers significant benefits when compared to local media.

The Data Management Healthcheck 2010 survey, will remain open during the WoHIT conference in Barcelona, Spain, between March 15 - 18, 2010. If you want to take part in the survey you can access it online.

Recession Cuts European Printer Market by 17%

The combined printer, copier and multifunctional product (MFP) market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) totalled 39.6 million shipments in 2009, a decline of 17.8 per cent from 2008, according to Gartner (news, site).

Overall end-user spending also declined by 21 per cent from €14.4 billion in 2008 to €11.3 billion in 2009, as a result of tighter credit controls by banks and cuts in IT spending by businesses as well as consumers.

Many organizations are still delaying the purchase of new products as cost containment policies remain intact with a focus on cost reduction. However, colour devices registered a 5 per cent growth.

Each of the top five vendors saw a decline in 2009. HP remained the market leader in the EMEA printer, copier and MFP market, but registered the worst decline at 21 per cent year-on-year. Canon, ranked No. 2, continued to perform well in the A4 segment.

Samsung Electronics posted the lowest market decline at 2 per cent in 2009, which helped it maintain its No. 2 position in the page market, led by HP.

If you’re interested in more you can log on to the Gartner website.