Office 2010 preview leaks to Web

July's invite-only test edition follows Windows 7 to BitTorrent

Pirated copies labeled as the Technical Preview of Microsoft's Office 2010 have leaked to the Internet, according to searches on popular file-sharing sites.

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Office 2010 joined the also-still-unfinished Windows 7 on BitTorrent Saturday. Searches on the Mininova.org as well as the Pirate Bay tracking site revealed leaked copies of both the 32- and 64-bit editions of the application suite. Commenters on the sites confirmed that the posted versions are tagged Technical Preview, claimed that they worked, but noted that they are unstable.

As of 7 a.m. US ET Monday, the most popular torrent on Mininova -- a 1.3GB file of the suite's 32-bit version, showed more than 1,100 total "seeders" -- the term for a computer that has a complete copy of the torrent file -- and about 16,000 "leechers," or computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent. More than 5,800 copies of the file had been downloaded over the weekend.

Last week, Microsoft announced it would begin invitation-only testing of the suite in July. Dubbed Technical Preview, it will be seeded to hundreds of thousands of users selected from a pool who add their names to a waiting list. At an unspecified later date, Microsoft intends to open Office 2010 testing to the general public.

Office 2010 will be the first version of the application suite offered in 32- and 64-bit editions, and will run on Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, Microsoft confirmed last week.

According to Microsoft's registration page, Office 2010 Technical Preview will include preliminary copies of Word 2010, Excel 2010, Outlook 2010, PowerPoint 2010, OneNote 2010, Access 2010, InfoPath 2010 and Publisher 2010. (Last week that same page also said something called Communicator 2010 would be included in the preview; as of today, however, that application had been deleted from the list. A spokeswoman reached last week said that Communicator was a client for Microsoft's Communications Server, but declined to provide more details.)

"Downloaded earlier today and seems to work great," said a Mininova user identified as "drkwiat" in a comment to the 32-bit download thread. "I've tried both Word and Excel, which offer some additional functions and a nicer interface."

A user on Pirate Bay noted that the preview expires at the end of November 2010.

Others have pegged the build as v14.0.4006.1010, and have provided screenshots. It's unclear, however, if the leaks are of the finished Technical Preview, or just a work-in-progress version of what will be released in July to those invited to the program.

Office 2010 ending up on the Web is no surprise. Leaked copies of other Microsoft software, particularly Windows 7, have appeared regularly this year. Pirated copies of Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) hit BitTorrent 10 days before Microsoft posted it for public download, for instance.

Among the notable changes in Office 2010 are a revamped Outlook e-mail client that will feature the 2007-esque "ribbon" interface, and the simultaneous availability of new, lightweight online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Microsoft has not set a ship date for the final Office 2010, saying only that it would be at some point in the first half of next year.

Users who want to wait for the Microsoft-sanctioned preview can apply by filling out a form on Microsoft's Web site.

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