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Microsoft ships updated Works

Version 8 of the low-priced productivity package includes a stand-alone dictionary and a PowerPoint add-on.

Microsoft released on Monday a new version of Works, its low-priced productivity package for consumers. Like previous versions, Works 8 includes basic word-processing, spreadsheet and database applications, plus e-mail and calendar tools. New features in version 8 include a stand-alone dictionary and an application for viewing PowerPoint slides.

Works is aimed mainly at consumers, a niche where its popularity as a retail product lately has been eclipsed by the low-priced academic version of Microsoft's widespread Office package. Works now is most commonly found preinstalled on PCs, a market where Microsoft has faced challenges lately from rivals such as Corel's WordPerfect and Sun Microsystems' StarOffice.