We’re excited to announce that Office 2010 is available to business customers starting today! In addition to our virtual launch events, you can find more information below from a conversation that Takeshi Numoto had with Antoine Leblond, the engineering leader behind Office 2010. In it, he shares some of his insights into Office 2010 from an engineering perspective.

T: We’ve been talking about Office 2010 for over a year. Why are businesses going to tune into our “launch” on May 12?

A: Candidly, we all know that businesses have more productivity options now more than any other time in history. However, despite the hype, more than 90 million businesses rely on the Office applications to get work done. According to the 2010 CIO survey, 63% of respondents predict that IT department efforts will focus on improving end-user productivity, and 58% will focus on lowering operating costs. Office 2010 was built to help IT folks achieve these ends. The “launch” day, in my mind, is really a way to demonstrate that we’re delivering a solution that truly meets the needs of today’s businesses and into the future.

T: So it’s a day to showcase that we’ve listened to customers and built a product around their needs, that’s great. What do businesses really get with the Office 2010?

A: The proper answer would be to say that businesses get a reliable, secure and familiar suite that will help them innovate and grow. However, I’ll leave that marketing speak to you. :) I’ve spoken with numerous customers and they consistently say, ‘I need to save money, but not at the expense of worker productivity.’ We’ve been listening to customers and enhancing the tools they use every day to get work done for more than 20 years. We know that people today are working differently than a few years ago and expect their software to work the way they do. Think about the increased scenarios around collaboration, social networks, mobility, or use of multimedia in documents, just to name a few. So what businesses are getting are productivity tools that allow them to adapt to these various market trends including things like the move to the cloud on their own terms and with a consistent user experience they have trusted for decades.

T: How do you feel we’re addressing real business pain points with the new iteration of Office?

A: At the heart of Office 2010 is the idea that people need a productivity solution that allows them to work – in whatever capacity – from wherever they are. So when I hear you guys in marketing position Office 2010 as the “best experience across the PC, phone and browser,” I smile because that was exactly the underpinning assumption we used to build the product. With features like configurable Ribbon UI across apps, conversation view and “ignore” feature in Outlook, and improved interoperability for document formats, we put our customers in control of their productivity experience. So I feel comfortable saying that Office 2010 addresses the increasingly diverse workforce, gives businesses a means to improve productivity while controlling costs, and helps companies large and small better manage information overload.

T: In closing, tell me something I didn’t know.

A: Did you know that every month for 7 straight months one million people have downloaded Office 2010 beta? This, as you’ve said in the past, is the best software beta in our history, and showcases the demand for the enhanced value of Office 2010.

We hope you’ll tune in today to the virtual event to hear first-hand from some of our customers why they are investing in Office 2010 and the new 2010 series of products.