For anyone who might be interested.....
Microsoft has launched the "Office 2010 Real Life Stories program" on Microsoft Connect. The program is looking for home users, small businesses, and college students that use 5 PCs or fewer on a daily basis and are willing to test Office 2010 extensively. The Web versions of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that come with Office 2010 will also be available for testing. For your chance to participate, you'll need to fill out a 13-question nomination survey. Although the program doesn't specify that it is US-only, it asks for a "State" in the survey, suggesting that it probably is. Deadline for submissions is June 30.
This isn't your typical Microsoft beta program; you'll be expected to commit a minimum of six months, use the Microsoft-provided "loaner" laptop for your daily business or personal tasks, participate in training, surveys, and calls, as well as agree to share your experience through marketing and public relations efforts. The last point is the important one: Microsoft says that can mean everything from being featured in case studies and videos to acting as a press reference or even just letting Microsoft use your testimonials about the software. Redmond will be using testers' experiences to figure out how consumers use Microsoft Office and how it impacts their daily routine.
In return for participating you'll receive the following:
Microsoft Office 2010 pre-installed on a "loaner" laptop PC
24-hour unlimited e-mail support Monday through Friday, with phone support for escalations
Monthly webcast training and Q&A sessions
Community site access, so you can connect with other participants and easily use resources like feature videos and announcements
Free copy of Microsoft Office 2010 (once it is available)
Whether that makes it worth it or not is up to you. If it's not, don't worry: the Office 2010 Technical Preview is set to begin next month anyway, so you'll be able to test an official build soon enough if you're in the "normal" beta program. For those that don't get into that beta, there's always the public beta build that is set to arrive this summer.
Microsoft confirmed in April that Office 2010 will be the first release of Microsoft Office to ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, possibly on one DVD. Screenshots of the alpha version of Office 2010 (then codenamed Office 14) leaked in January and a Technical Preview build leaked in May.