Microsoft has begun sending out invitations to the Office 2010 Technical Preview.
Microsoft is distributing the Office 2010 bits via its Connect testing site. The bits hold the build number 14.0.4006.1110 meaning they are older than the recent "beta" leak. Yesterday Microsoft unveiled Office 2010 and Office Web Applications 2010
at the company's annual Worldwide Partner Conference. It's widely expected that Microsoft will offer a public beta to customers in late August.
In an email to potential testers Microsoft noted that on "Microsoft Connect, you will find downloads available for early, pre-release versions of Microsoft Office 2010 products. You will also find product information and have the chance to participate in newsgroups to engage with our product teams and other program participants. Please note that there is no technical support offered for this program."
Office 2010 promises tighter integration with Windows 7, full Ribbon UI for Outlook and compatibility with Microsoft's forthcoming Office Web Applications. Office Web Applications are not available for testing yet, Microsoft employees are currently "dogfooding" the bits internally and a wider beta should begin at the same time as Office 2010 beta is offered publicly.
Microsoft posted several Office videos yesterday demonstrating the new features of Office 2010. Although Microsoft has not confirmed official pricing, the company hinted that Office 2010 will be released in the first half of next year.