The next version of Microsoft Office will be called Office 2000.
Previously codenamed Office 9, the new Office suite will make extensive use of World Wide Web technologies. HTML wil be added as a companion file format, and Web posting will be possible from the Save As dialogue box. Browser-based Office Web discussions can be used for collaboration inside a Web page.
Office 2000 will have new, more flexible installation options. Install-on-demand technology will allow users to install only the features they need. File formats will remains unchanged from Office 97, with the exception of Microsoft Access, which is changing to incorporate UNICODE support.
Microsoft says its key efforts in Office 2000 are designed to address issues relating to the cost of deploying and managing Office software.
"Office 2000 will be the first truly global desktop applications suite and will make it simpler for organisations to deploy Office by using a single underlying product 'executable' when deploying internationally. An organisation will be able to roll out and support one consistent version of Office 2000 around the globe," according to Microsoft.
Release dates and pricing were not announced.