RealTime IT News

Microsoft Adds e-Postage to Office 11

In what may be a sign of Microsoft's strategy for partnerships going forward, the beta version of Office 11 released to testers Tuesday showcases the software titan's first implementation of functionality in one of its applications derived from a strategic relationship.

Through its partnership with online postage service Stamps.com , Microsoft has integrated "enhanced electronic postage printing functionality" in the Office 11 beta. When printing envelopes using the new version of Word 11, users will be able to check a box in the print menu to add electronic postage. Stamps.com will power the service, allowing the user to print the address and postage on the envelope within the Word interface.

The new functionality Microsoft has added to Office 11 through the relationship also includes:

  • Adding graphics or company logos
  • The ability to track postage use through reports and accounting codes
  • Automatic address correction and verification
  • Automatic calculation of postage rates based on mail class and weight.

Exchanging strategic relationships to give end-users added functionality is not a new strategy for Microsoft, points out Gartner Dataquest Vice President and Research Director Michael Silver. However, what is new is the tight, seamless integration within the application, making the added functionality transparent to the end-user.

"I think they'll continue to pursue it and it will get more aggressive as time goes on," Silver said. He added, "One has to wonder if there comes a point where Microsoft will make more money from some of these services than from the products themselves."

Separately, Stamps.com expanded its relationship with Microsoft, sealing a new three-year strategic relationship.

The expanded deal comes on the heels of Microsoft's announcement Tuesday that it will acquire Vicinity , a creator and integrator of location-based services, for about $96 million cash.