Microsoft will launch an invitation-only SharePoint Server 2010 beta test in July with a select group of customers and then follow the program up with a public testing phase ahead of the Office 2010 release in the first half of next year.
Microsoft said the Office 2010 beta slated for July will not include the SharePoint Server 2010 beta.
The SharePoint 2010 beta/technology preview will be invitation-only and will focus on a number of its enterprise customers and target specific enterprise deployment scenarios.
Tom Rizzo, director of Microsoft SharePoint Server, said this is the best way to gather feedback on SharePoint, which has become the fastest growing product ever released by Microsoft.
Microsoft also plans to run a similar beta program for Project Server 2010.
The Office 2010 beta is being run as a separate beta, or what Microsoft calls a technology preview. The Office 2010 beta will focus on client technologies: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, InfoPath and Publisher.
Later this year, a public beta will launch for both SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010. A Microsoft spokesperson did not give a timeframe for the public beta.
Rizzo stressed that users will have to start thinking 64-bit when they think of the next version of SharePoint.
The 2010 edition will require a 64-bit version of SQL Server 2005 or 2008. In addition, the server will run on the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2008.
Rizzo also announced that SharePoint Server 2010 will not support Internet Explorer 6.
As far as the 64-bit support, Rizzo said as gently as he could, “You have been warned.”