Office system is unveiled today

The software giant is hosting a series of presentations throughout the morning in hall 9 to educate the market on the latest iteration of its Office productivity software.

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By  Greg Wilson Published  October 21, 2003

Microsoft is pulling the packaging off Office System at today’s show. The software giant plans to host a series of presentations throughout the morning in hall 9 to educate the market on the latest iteration of its Office productivity software.

According to Microsoft, Office System amounts to an entire redesign of the Office application suite to significantly enhance the collaborative functionality.

“We’re moving away from the concept of Office as a series of [standalone] applications, such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint,” says Emre Berkin, vice president, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Microsoft.
“We have tightly coupled the applications in Office to enrich the offering and functionality,” he adds.

A key area of integration is with Microsoft’s portal server, SharePoint. Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has been beta testing Office, and particular its integration with SharePoint. With Office System publication of files to SharePoint is now done through a simple menu command, where previously, it had been done via a wizard. “We are beta testing [Office 2003],” says Floor Bleeker, director of information technology, Emirates Academy.

“The main reason is because it ties in with SharePoint version 2. If you want all the benefits, then you need to have Office [System],” he adds.

Adding to Microsoft’s collaboration story is the simultaneous launch of Exchange 2003. Emirates Academy has also been testing the next generation of Exchange. “This will integrate Exchange web access into SharePoint. That is a big advantage,” comments Floor.

However, since the last version of Office hit the shelves in 2000, market conditions have changed. Now there is a greater emphasis behind open source alternatives, and vendor-led initiatives such as Sun’s Sun Java Desktop System are posing price points for desktop productivity software.

Regardless, Berkin remains confident that Office System will prove popular among with users. “The rate of adoption will depend largely on us, and how well we do our job. But Office System offers definite advantage to corporates, small to medium businesses and to consumers. We keep on adding value to customers,” he says.

Office System will be fully Arabised when it ships today. Microsoft made Arabic a tier one language, nearly two years ago. “There is no time delay in offering an Arabised package to users,” says Berkin. A6-1

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