Microsoft's Office 2000 finally launches

Microsoft yesterday officially announced the release of its Office 2000 desktop application suite, designed to accommodate the growing market of Internet users.

"All of Office 2000 tools have been evolved to embrace the Internet and to enhance not only personal productivity, but group productivity," Microsoft president Steve Ballmer said.

The product will be in stores for wide distribution by Thursday. Office 2000 Professional edition costs $1009 for the full version and $559 for an upgrade. Standard, the low-end version, costs $839 new and $459 for an upgrade.

The product comes with several applications, including Microsoft Word, the Excel spreadsheet, Outlook e-mail and personal information manager, the Access database program, PowerPoint presentation software and the Publisher desktop publishing application.

Australian users of the Standard Edition will notice a new Registration Wizard which is aimed at thwarting software piracy. The tool requires a user to register before or on the application's fiftieth use -- the suite will otherwise lock itself and bar access for the user.

The last major upgrade for Office was released in 1997.

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