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Microsoft quietly readies small biz version of Office 2010

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Microsoft looks set to release a small business version of Office 2010 for emerging markets, but is currently remaining silent on the issue even though alleged screenshots of the software package have appeared online.

Smart Max News and My Digital Life both reported yesterday that an Office Small Business Basics 2010 SKU - that includes MS Word, Excel, OneNote and Outlook, but no PowerPoint - was coming soon.

The Register asked Microsoft to verify this story, but at time of writing the company hadn’t gotten back to us with comment.

Consumer versions of Office 2010 were released in three different flavours on 15 June: Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional. Business customers got their hands on the software in May this year.

Microsoft previously said it had decided to cut back the number of versions of Office 2010 compared with its predecessor to help simplify the release for customers.

However, it appears to have had a rethink by pushing out another SKU.

ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley speculated that MS is remaining silent about Office Small Business Basics 2010 until the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference next month in Washington DC.

Redmond’s website currently lists Office Small Business Basics 2010 as one of its products. Excluding the Starter edition, that brings the total number of SKUs to six, if one includes the lesser-known Office 2010 Standard and Professional Plus versions of the software.

In Microsoft’s previous iteration of the suite, customers were faced with eight different Office 2007 SKUs. But whether the Office 2010 product list will continue to be jacked up by Microsoft remains to be seen. ®

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