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Next Year to be a Big One for Office 2010: Survey

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Microsoft’s Office 2010 was only released last May and, in less than six months, 4 percent of corporate IT organizations have already fully deployed it, according to a new study.

Further, 2011 is looking like a banner year for the latest version of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) premier Office productivity application suite. Some 18 percent told Dimensional Researchthat they plan to deploy Office 2010 “broadly” by the end of the year, but a much larger number — 42 percent — said they plan to do the job in 2011.

That should put smile on Microsoft faces.

The Dimensional Research survey, which polled 953 IT professionals in September, was funded by Dell KACE, a systems management appliance vendor that Dell acquired earlier this year.

“Customers [have been] moving slowly and then, next year — boom — they’ll pull the trigger,” Rob Meinhardt, Dell KACE president, told, in regard to the bottom line analysis in the report. KACE has funded a number of surveys in the past, mostly regarding Windows adoption, including Windows Vista and Windows 7.

An additional 18 percent of survey respondents said they plan to broadly deploy Office 2010 within the next two years. Only 7 percent plan to wait past 2012, although another 15 percent said they have no plans to deploy Office 2010 at all.

Despite what appears to be a largely positive response to Microsoft’s latest productivity suite, though, respondents weren’t without serious concerns.

According to the survey report, 78 percent of those who answered the poll have concerns about the package. A whopping 45 percent said that they have training issues regarding the Office “ribbon” user interface, which was first introduced with Office 2007.

At the same time, 36 percent have other user training issues with deploying and supporting Office 2010. Additionally, 33 percent cited “incompatibility with add-in applications” and 33 percent said they have concerns about “incompatibility with Office 2003 file formats.”

Meanwhile, deployments of Windows 7 have also picked up.

For instance, in September, the survey found, 6 percent of IT professionals said they were already done deploying Windows 7, while an additional 38 percent said they have achieved a partial rollout.

Indeed, the Windows 7 figures appear to agree with the number of licenses that Microsoft announced for the systems’ first year last week — 240 million, counting both consumer and corporate sales. That’s up from 175 million at the end of June.

Meantime, one of the issues that still haunts Microsoft — a resistance by many users to move off of Windows XP — is still very real. The survey found that 49 percent will deploy Office 2010 on machines running an operating system other than Windows 7 — that is, Vista or XP. Although the percentage that will deploy Office 2010 solely on Windows 7 came in at 51 percent, one thing is clear.

IT professionals will need to plan to support Office 2010 on multiple operating systems for the time being.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing writer at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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