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Microsoft Takes Office 2000 Online

With the upcoming release of its Office 2000 software package, Microsoft Corp. will also make available the software online.

Microsoft (MSFT) essentially creates itself as an application service provider, providing small-business customers with the option of using the software from a central Web location. Office Online will be available through the company's new bCentral Web services portal by the end of the year.

Office Online will deliver the complete Office 2000 suite to a range of clients running Windows and Windows CE operating systems using Windows NT or Windows 2000's Terminal Services, the company said. Applications include Microsoft Word, Excel, the Microsoft PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, FrontPage and Outlook.

Office 2000 was designed specifically to integrate software with Web applications, said Steven Sinofsky, vice president of Microsoft Office. He said providing outsourced applications to businesses online is a burgeoning Web industry that Microsoft is proud to be a part of.

"We are moving into the next wave of the Web where software and services are delivered together, and we are excited to offer Office 2000 to our customers in this new way," he said. "Providing productivity applications along with services over the Internet is a new opportunity for industry partners, and Office Online will offer new solutions for our customers."

As part of the Office Online initiative, Microsoft partnered with a variety of companies to provide the service. They include British Telecommunications PLC, CenterBeam Inc., Concentric Network, Digex Inc., Interliant Inc., Micron Electronics, Qwest Communications International Inc., USinternetworking Inc., Verio Inc. and Winstar Communications Inc.