Limited Office 2003 release set for Monday

Select Microsoft customers will get early access to several of the vendor's new Office System products on Monday, the company said.

Volume buyers who bought Microsoft's software maintenance plan Software Assurance (SA) and subscribers to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) developer service will be able to download the Office 2003 suite applications, the OneNote note-taking tool and several other applications starting Sept. 15, Microsoft said in a statement sent via e-mail Thursday.

Microsoft originally planned to offer the products online on Oct. 1, but moved the release forward because customers are eager to start evaluating the new products, the company said.

Some PC makers may start delivering new machines loaded with Office 2003 by the end of this month, but the official introduction and general retail availability of the new Office products is scheduled for Oct. 21, when Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates will host a launch event in New York City.

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