Microsoft to stake Office 2010 beta on Halloween

Hopes downloads won't go bump in night

hands waving dollar bills in the air

A spooked Microsoft is doing its level best to morph into a cloud-dwelling company, but it still has shrink-wrapped software to flog.

That’s why the vendor put out a reminder yesterday that the beta version of Office 2010 will be killed (probably by a vampire) on 31 October.

In other words, the test build of the software will stop working on Halloween.

Microsoft claimed around nine million downloads of the beta had taken place since its release a year ago. The completed version of the software hit retail shelves in June 2010.

Anyone interested in parting with cash for Office 2010, will first need to uninstall the beta version, said Microsoft.

And here’s a surprise: The company is encouraging customers to download the software rather than buy the boxed-up version, in a move to, er, help the environment and presumably upset the High Street.

“If you have already selected the Office 2010 suite that's right for you, the fastest way to get the released version onto your computer is to download it. Not only is this option an eco-friendly way to help reduce packaging waste, it's also great for procrastinators who may not have planned ahead. ;-),” said Microsoft.

“If you'd prefer to receive the traditional DVD in a box, you can have it shipped to your door.”

Microsoft is punting the software direct through its store and has several online resellers flogging it, too.

But the firm hasn’t fared brilliantly in the past with this method of software-via-the-cloud-dumped-onto-desktop delivery.

Following the launch of Windows 7 in October 2009, Microsoft was flooded with complaints from hundreds of disgruntled university bods who struggled to download or successfully install the operating system’s files that were supplied by US-based Digital River.

In April this year Redmond was forced to delay delivery of some Visual Studio 2010 Professional Upgrade pre-orders due to a “product fulfillment issue” on its website. ®

Sponsored: How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers