Microsoft Produces New Software for Office

Tuesday, March 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. has completed its latest version of Office, called "XP", on time, a relative rarity in the setback-prone technology field.

"Of all the things that I prepared for as a computer programmer, shipping on time wasn't one of them," Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president in charge of Office, said last week after Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and chief executive Steve Ballmer signed off on the product.

Copies of OfficeXP, a package of word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail and other software, will be available for retail purchase later this spring, the company said in a statement Monday.

Microsoft, which has not yet priced the new Office, is touting user-friendly features that will allow people to connect to each other and to Internet-based resources more easily.

Despite Microsoft's belief that consumers will continue to pay to upgrade their PC systems, some are skeptical that the company will reach Mr. Ballmer's goal of selling more than 50 million copies of the new software.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Giga Information Systems, said she doesn't think the product offers sufficiently compelling new features to warrant an upgrade, especially for people who have just recently adopted Office 2000.

That's about 40 percent of Office customers, according to Microsoft.