Redmond has provided a Release Candidate build of Microsoft Office 2010 to a select group of testers. "Microsoft made a release candidate available to members in the Technology Adoption Program (TAP)," a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed with Ars.
"This is one of Microsoft's planned milestones in the engineering process; however they do not have plans to make this new code set available broadly."
Microsoft uses TAP to obtain real world customer feedback on its prerelease products from its partners. These partners have the opportunity to talk to the product engineering team, get help in deploying their Microsoft solutions, get early product education, and of course use feedback to influence the product during its development. The fact that Microsoft is not considering giving this build, or some RC version, to the public is a little worrying given that the company still has four months till Office 2010 is released. Granted, the final build will likely be compiled much sooner, but generally speaking, only providing a single public beta is uncharacteristic of the company. When we asked Microsoft about more public Office 2010 builds, the company refused to reveal anything. "We have nothing additional to share at this time," the spokesperson told Ars.
The Office 2010 beta that Microsoft gave out to the public three months ago was build 14.0.4536.1000 and has already been downloaded over 2 million times. Since then, and even before then, there have been many leaks of other builds; the latest one we've seen is build 14.0.4734.1000, which leaked out only last week:
Office 2010 is the first release of the productivity suite that will come in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors and on one DVD no less. It is slated to be released in June 2010 with the same requirements as Office 2007 though under a different pricing scheme.