Office 2000 To Go Gold Next Week

Microsoft will release Office 2000 to manufacturing next week in preparation for April availability to select corporate customers, sources said.

At its Office 2000 Deployment Conference in New Orleans next week, Microsoft officials will announce the Office 2000 testing is complete and will be available to licensed customers on CDs beginning in April, company sources said. The shrink-wrapped Office 2000 box will be available to retailers starting in early June, several retail sources said.

"We're very close to it," said one source. "It will be completed by the end of the first quarter as promised. We're reaching that milestone."

The Redmond, Wash.-based company also will detail next week a host of resources being provided to IT and reseller professionals to push Office 2000 as well as the forthcoming BackOffice 4.5 suite through Microsoft TechNet, Microsoft Direct Access and the Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Programs.

Microsoft said it plans to release five versions of the Web-centric Office upgrade, including Office 2000 Premium, Office 2000 Developer, Office 2000 Standard, Office 2000 Professional and Office 2000 Small Business Edition. The Small Business Edition will incorporate a number of small-business tools including a Business Planner component, sources said.

Microsoft first introduced Office 2000 at PC Expo last June and indicated it would ship in the first quarter of 1999.


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