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Microsoft Ships Web-Enabled Office 2000 Beta

Let the upgrades begin. Microsoft Corp. today announced the shipment of Office 2000 beta 1 to 20,000 customers and solution providers for evaluation.

Among the new features in the suite are a central forum for working collaboratively on documents, and the ability to easily save documents as HTML files for posting on the Web without any programming, the company said.

In addition to upgraded versions of programs already found on Office 97, FrontPage 2000 also will be included in a new higher-end edition of Office 2000. Teams using Office 2000 will be able to create and post documents to the Web, then use the FrontPage 2000 Web site creation and management tool to manage their entire site, the firm said.

Shared Office menus and toolbars, combined with an integrated Editor and Explorer, are designed to help Office users feel comfortable using FrontPage. In addition to full Web site creation and management capabilities, Microsoft added that FrontPage 2000 will provide Web collaboration support with features such as page-level check-in and check-out, as well as easy-to-use Web security management.

"We're excited to provide so many customers with beta 1 at this early stage so they can begin evaluating some of the great new Web collaboration features in Office 2000," said Steven Sinofsky, general manager of Office at Microsoft. "We've made some big investments so the Web will really work for our customers, without asking them to learn a host of new tools."

FrontPage 2000 beta 1 is scheduled to be released in fall 1998.