Office 2000 to ship next month

Microsoft will ship Office 2000 to enterprise customers beginning at the end of April, and the product will reach store shelves June 10, the company announced in New Orleans at the Office 2000 deployment conference on Monday.

Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president of the applications and tools group, said the suite was sent to manufacturing at Microsoft on Thursday, March 25. "We know the dates really precisely now, and we can move forward,'' he told an audience of about 1000 customers in the conference's opening keynote speech.

On stage, customers from Boeing and the University of Texas demonstrated some of the suite's features designed to hold down enterprises' total cost of ownership and allow corporate end users to communicate better.

Joel Ware, office product manager at Boeing, said the company, which buys more than 100,000 seats of Office, will customise each copy's help menus with links to an internal Boeing help desk Web site. By steering users to internal help sources, the company hopes to cut the costs of user downtime.

Graduate business students from the University of Texas said they are studying project management by using features in Outlook that allow Web-based collaboration. The students said they can publish and edit HTML documents on a Web server from within Word and can subscribe to a site to be notified by e-mail of any changes. The students also use Office to view one another's schedules in a Web browser.

Office 2000 was designed to let users publish documents and data to intranet sites and to better support global customers, with easier administration capabilities and foreign language support.

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