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Office 97 means (small) business

Microsoft will offer a variation of Office 97 tailored for small businesses when the suite ships early next year.

Microsoft (MSFT) announced today that when Office 97 ships early next year, it will offer a variation of the application suite that's tailored for small businesses.

The Small Business Edition will contain Word 97, Excel 97, Publisher 97, Automap Streets Plus, Outlook 97 desktop information manager, and Internet Explorer. The company will also throw in one free month of Internet connection time through the Microsoft Network, the company's born-again online service.

The package will also include the Small Business Financial Manager, an add-on to Excel that imports data from common accounting packages and lets users analyze financial figures in a variety of "what-if" scenarios.

The Small Business Edition will be priced at $499, a Microsoft spokeswoman said. An upgrade version for users of the previous release of the Office suite will also be available for $249. Availability is expected in late first quarter of 1997, about a month after the release of the standard Office 97 suites.