Microsoft has released the latest version of its Office suite, which can be used with the web, and is optimised for its latest Windows 2000 operating system.
The beta version of the software, codenamed Office 10, has been released to a group of customers in the channel, and is the first Office suite to deliver on the .Net strategy. The final version is scheduled for release next spring.
Described by Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Office at Microsoft as the "most ambitious and significant Office product ever released", it allows end users greater control over the way Office works.
Office 10 boasts features such as Smart Tags, which provide information for completing tasks or accessing data; a Task Pane, which helps users boost functionality for finding and creating documents; speech recognition technology: and Hotmail and Instant Messenger integration.
Data recovery features heavily in Office 10, including application and document recovery, and application error reporting, which allows users to report problems directly to Microsoft or a specified group in their own company. They will promptly receive personalised web-based help or an email explaining how to solve the problem.
Sinofsky claimed that Office 10 also allows document routing for review, editing, accepting and rejecting changes to documents. There is also a feature for creating calendars, announcements, document storage and task lists.
"The breadth of customer solutions we are delivering in this product exceeds any previous version of Office," he said.
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