The bad news: Confirming rumors that circulated earlier this year, Microsoft won’t offer existing Office owners a discount if they want to upgrade to the latest version, Office 2010. The even worse news: The new version hasn’t done away with the Ribbon. The good news: According to PC Magazine, There really isn’t any reason to upgrade if you’re happy with your current version of Office (or OpenOffice or Google Docs).
PC Mag is out with a comprehensive review of the new megasuite, which Microsoft officially unveiled today. One major change, as pointed out by PC, is that current users, even those who paid the full price of as much as $400 for the super-deluxe Office 2007 Pro suite, will have to pay full-price yet again (though if you bought it after March 5th, you can get a free upgrade).
While the PC Mag review was generally positive, the overall verdict is that Office 2010 isn’t a must-have:
Do you need the new version? If you’re a home or small-business user of Office 2007 ($399.95 direct, ), the answer is: probably not. Our Office 2010 review shows that the latest version packs in enough new conveniences and performance tweaks that you’ll probably at least want Office 2010—something that hasn’t been true of every Office upgrade. …
Our opinion: Office 2010 is a worthy upgrade of Microsoft’s office suite juggernaut, but for many users “worthy” doesn’t mean “necessary.” If you’re a casual user or are on a tight budget, you can manage without this upgrade, but power users with cash to spend will find the upgrade worth the cost. What we hoped for but didn’t get in this version of the suite: a thorough reworking of Word and Excel to make them modern and user-friendly in all their features, not just in some. That would make for must-have Office upgrade. Even without those improvements, however, and Office remains the best and most powerful application suite on the planet.
If you want to give Office 2010 a try without paying for it, you can still download the beta version for free, and use it until it expires in October. You can also try Microsoft’s free online version of Office, which will be out later this year.