Tech Industry

Microsoft details Office 2000 prices

Microsoft announces new pricing and promotional programs for the next version of its desktop productivity applications suite.

Microsoft today announced new pricing and promotional programs for the next version of its Office 2000 software package.

With the Office 2000 Technology Guarantee, customers who acquire the Office 97 suite or an individual application between January 1, 1999, and the date when Office 2000 becomes generally available are eligible to receive an upgrade to the Office 2000 suite or a corresponding application for free.

Office 2000 Premium, which features the FrontPage 2000 Web site creation and management tool and PhotoDraw 2000 business graphics software, is priced at $399 for Microsoft Office upgrades and other qualifying Microsoft desktop applications, and $449 for non-Microsoft suites or desktop applications. For new users, Office 2000 Premium will be priced at $799.

In all, Microsoft will be offering five suite options when Office 2000 ships in the first quarter of this year. As previously reported, Office 2000 Premium offers corporate users and software enthusiasts a high-end suite of Web tools, desktop applications, document management software, and graphic design technology.

Priced at $309 for version upgrades, $349 for non-Microsoft upgrades, and $599 for new users, Office 2000 Professional is targeted specifically to corporate users and features the basic desktop applications absent any graphic design technology.

Both Office 2000 Small Business and Standard offer users with basic computer needs a core collection of the Office applications and software, and are priced the same--$209 for version upgrades, $249 for non-Microsoft suites or desktop applications, and $499 for new users.

Office 2000 Developer, which includes development tools, will cost $609 for Microsoft users, $649 for upgrades from non-Microsoft suites, and $999 for new users.

The group of Office 2000 suites are now in their second beta testing phase, despite earlier claims by the company that the suite would be on store shelves this quarter.

Instead of being generally available in the first quarter of 1999, the product will be in customers' hands the next quarter, the company said. Rather than calling it a delay, the company couched the new release time as being a "more secure estimate" than what was provided before.

The new suite also features the first beta version of Outlook 2000, the latest version of Microsoft's email client software. The new version features enhancements like Office E-Mail, which allows users to compose messages using any Office application and to send the message as HTML.