Microsoft has upgraded its Office 97 package, beefing it up with an array of new features in a bid to win back any gains Corel has made the small businesses market.
Better known for its design software, Corel has been nibbling at the software giant's market share by offering its Wordperfect suite to some PC manufacturers for less than $10 per machine.
Jonathan Hulse, product manager at Microsoft, said: 'Corel has been selling in the smaller business retail sector but the company has no real credibility on the suite side.
'There are some enormous opportunities in this area and ours is a good margin product. Small businesses spend more on software than corporates, and are willing to pay more to get the best.'
Office Assistant, an animated interface within the package, will provide training and help for users. The company is also jumping on the Internet bandwagon, relying heavily on the Web technologies offered in Office 97 for sales. 'It will be the easiest way to create Web content and Web pages,' Hulse said.
The suite ships in November, priced from $469 for new users, or $199 for existing users.
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