Microsoft’s Office 2003 hits Australia

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Microsoft officially launched its new Microsoft Office System productivity suite in Australia at Fox Studio in Sydney on Wednesday.

Microsoft officially launched its new Microsoft Office System productivity suite with characteristic flair in Australia at Fox Studios in Sydney today.

Office 2003 leads the suite with new versions of Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint and a very different looking Outlook. Among the server products are Exchange 2003, SharePoint Portal Server, Live Communications Server, and Project Server.

Standalone applications include the new web design program, FrontPage 2003, as well as InfoPath 2003, an application that allows users to create forms for entering data, and OneNote, a note taking took for electronic scribbling and Tablet PCs.

Steve Vamos, managing director at Microsoft Australia, commented that we have now reached what he described as the “integration age” -- a holistic view of how information flows within an organisation that will lead to better processes.

This is a fundamental shift in direction and philosophy for Microsoft's flagship productivity suite, which has traditionally focussed on providing users with specific tools for working as individuals. The Office System now emphasises collaboration and the sharing of information, as well as project management and communications, thus broadening the scope of the suite to truly encompass the whole office.

At the launch Microsoft, in fact, spent more time discussing streamlining business processes than delving into the improvements of its applications.

Microsoft has modelled key components of Office System on web technologies, for example XML is the key technology enabling better information flow and integration.

Office Professional 2003 is priced at $899 with the standard edition being $699. The non-commercial-use 3-license Student and Teacher edition is $299. This is different from the single license Academic edition of Office Professional 2003, which retails at $349.

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