The first computers pre-loaded with Microsoft's Office 2000 have begun shipping for those champing at the bit to be the first with a copy of the software suite.
Major PC manufacturers such as Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, Gateway and Micron today began shipping computers with Office 2000 pre-loaded, although retail stores will not offer shrink-wrapped versions of the software until June 10, Microsoft confirmed.
Buyers of new PCs will thus have access to the newest Microsoft software before it is widely available at retail, a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Office 2000 is the latest generation of widely used business programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access. Microsoft's new applications are expected to be more Internet-centric, in some cases prompting users to install the company's Internet Explorer Web browser.
The suite's release has been repeatedly pushed back, and in its last quarterly earnings statement, Microsoft announced it would defer $400 million in unrealized revenue associated with Office 2000.
Compaq, for example, will install and offer Office 2000 Small Business and Professional editions on its Prosignia small business computers starting May 15. Prosignia notebooks will offer Office 2000 in June, Compaq said.
For retail buyers, Office 2000 Premium is priced at $399 for Microsoft Office upgrades and other qualifying Microsoft desktop applications, and $449 for new users. The top of the line version, Office 2000 Premium will be priced at $799 for new users.
Office 2000 Professional is priced at $309 for version upgrades, $349 for non-Microsoft upgrades, and $599 for new users.