Resellers can look forward to "quite a departure from what we have been doing", in the next version of Microsoft Office, according to Matthew Price, Microsoft's group product manager- Microsoft Office.
In Australia demonstrating a Beta copy of the top-selling desktop application suite's next version last week, Price said key areas being addressed for the yet-to-be-named Office97 successor include improved Web-based functionality, business readiness and intelligent applications.
Microsoft was non-committal as to when its ninth incarnate of Office would be available but Price indicated early 1999 is a better bet than this year.
Key new developments include easier HTML document creation allowing better Web-based collaboration within workgroups or organisations. Users will now be able to save documents directly to Web pages.
Additionally, problems faced by enterprise-wide rollouts, particularly global applications, have been addressed by reducing 36 versions to just one package.