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OFFICE 97 AND ITS SIBLINGS

Automakers long ago mastered the art of taking a basic chassis, or platform, for a vehicle and combining different elements to create similar but distinctive cars. Now, Microsoft is taking a page from Detroit's book to create software packages for different markets. Microsoft's variations on a theme start with Office 97, its best-selling (and hugely profitable) suite of productivity applications for Windows 95 and NT. The standard version of Office consists of Word, the Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentations, and the Outlook, which manages E-mail and keeps track of customers or others you contact on a regular basis. Office 97 is priced at $249 as an upgrade from virtually any office-like program and $209 from earlier versions of Office. For the same price, the new Small Business Edition drops PowerPoint but adds the AutoMap Streets Plus mapping program, Publisher desktop publishing software, and a set of financial templates for Excel. The Professional version is the standard packaging plus the Access database manager for an extra $100. And the new $499 Developer's Edition adds an assortment of programming tools. Microsoft no longer sells Word as a stand-alone product. But if that's the only part of Office you really need, you can get it for just $109 as part of Microsoft Home Essentials, which is the standard word processing and spreadsheet software package with one encyclopedia and some games thrown in.



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Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.
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