Office 2000 To Hit Retail Stores In Late April

Microsoft will launch Office 2000 at retail in late April, sources told CRW. The software giant will primarily push three of its five Office 2000 SKUs at retail stores, namely the Office 2000 Premium Edition, Office 2000 Professional Edition and Office 2000 Small Business Edition, sources said. At the same time, Microsoft will also release a minor retail "refresh" of Windows 98 that incorporates bug fixes as well as a Year 2000 fix, sources said.

Office 2000 Premium, which includes FrontPage 2000 Web page-creation software and PhotoDraw 2000 graphics software in addition to Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access and Publisher 2000 upgrades, will sell for $799 at retail for new users and $309 (after rebate) for upgrades. Office 2000 Professional, priced at $599 for new users, carries an upgrade price of $209 (after rebate) and incorporates all of the functionality of the standard edition plus Access 2000 database, Publisher 2000 and Small Business Tools.

The Office 2000 Small Business Edition, priced at $499 or $209 (after rebate) for upgrades, features Word 2000, Excel 2000, Outlook 2000, Publisher 2000 and Small Business Tools. The fleet of versions also includes a developer edition and a standard edition, with the latter including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint 2000 upgrades for $499 or $209 for upgrades. These two SKUs will be available, but not heavily promoted at retail, sources noted. "The biggest difference is the premium edition," said one retail source, noting Microsoft plans to promote that title heavily to consumers. "This will be a bigger launch than Windows 98."

Microsoft recently announced a special "Office Technology Guarantee" promotion that entitles users who buy the existing Office 97 Professional SKU between Jan. 1 and July 31 to a free upgrade of the corresponding Office 2000 SKU when it ships. Customers will have to cover the $7.50 in shipping and handling costs.


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