Microsoft launched the latest version of its bread-and-butter desktop application, Office 2000, this week with the familiar promise that it will work smarter, faster and more efficiently.
The general consensus from those who were given access to the Beta version of the product is that there are lots of little new features which add to the "cool" factor of the product but no single property that makes its purchase imperative.
The major sales spin being put on the product by Microsoft is its improved Web collaboration capabilities as well as easier management of enterprise-wide deployment and improved integration.
With the launch of Office 2000, the world's most popular desktop suite now comes in five different flavours.
Office 2000 Standard, at $459 (estimated retail price) for an upgrade, offers the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Also ringing up $459 at the till is Office 2000 Small Business which adds the desktop publishing and Web authoring tool, Publisher 2000, and a sub-suite called Small Business Tools. It doesn't however, include the PowerPoint presentation package.
Wearing a pricetag of $589 is Office 2000 Professional SKU, which is currently the most popular version. It is basically the same as Office 2000 Standard with the Publisher 2000 and Access 2000 tools on top. It also includes the Small Business Tools bundle.
Top of the range for the desktop offerings is Office 2000 Premium (ERP $699) which offers all the components found in Professional with FrontPage 2000 and PhotoDraw 2000 thrown in for good measure, or for $110 as the case may be.
The fifth version is Office 2000 Developer which at $999 includes additional tools which allow for the development, management and deployment of customised applications by programmers for either resale or internal use.
Microsoft products are distributed by Tech Pacific, Express Data and Ingram Micro/ERA, as well as by Dataflow up until June 30.