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MS hits Office 2010 upgrade program button prematurely

Office 2007 purchasers to get free update from 5 March?

Microsoft let slip details about its Office 2010 “technology guarantee” plan yesterday.

The apparent PR gaffe revealed that the software vendor would kick off the program on 5 March. Office 2010 is expected to hit retail in June this year, but Microsoft hasn’t yet confirmed an official date for its next big consumer product launch.

MS has since taken down a posting to its website added by one of its employees. Ars Technica, which first reported the mishap, pointed out that Google still has a cached version of the page.

As is standard Microsoft marketing practice, the company is offering customers who buy Office 2007 between 5 March and 30 September a free upgrade to an equivalent edition of Office 2010.

The company will also sell punters a DVD containing the software for an undisclosed fee. The posting didn't reveal which suppliers the company would be using this time around.

In October 2009, Microsoft was flooded with complaints from hundreds of disgruntled university bods who struggled to download or successfully install Windows 7 files supplied by Digital River.

Many UK-based university staff and students, who stumped up £30 for Microsoft’s Windows 7 academic offer, grumbled the download wasn’t working for them.

Similarly, academic customers trying to take advantage of Redmond’s $29.99 Windows 7 upgrade offer to students in the US were also hit with problems once the software was downloaded from the Minneapolis-based Digital River’s website.

Earlier this week Microsoft pushed out a Release Candidate version of its Office 2010 suite, which includes Word, Excel, Outlook and OneNote, to a select bunch of testers.

It’s not clear when that near-ready version of the software will become generally available, however.

We asked Microsoft to comment on the butterfingers slip up, and also if it could confirm which suppliers the vendor planned to use for its Office 2010 upgrade program. We'll update this story once we hear back from the firm. ®

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