The Microsoft Office System is composed of industry-leading productivity programs, servers and services, and includes programs such as the Microsoft Office 2003 editions, and the 2003 versions of Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint®, Access, Outlook®, Visio®, FrontPage® and Publisher. The abilities in the core products can be extended in Microsoft Office System solutions by taking advantage of the productivity-enhancing capabilities of Microsoft Office SharePoint™ Portal Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft Office Live Meeting and the three new programs: Microsoft Office InfoPath™ 2003, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2003 and Microsoft Office OneNote™ 2003. The Microsoft Office System is the result of one of the largest and most successful development efforts and beta tests in Microsoft history. More than 600,000 beta testers — approximately three times the participants in previous beta tests — provided Microsoft with detailed feedback over the past year, allowing the company to develop the most innovative and stable Office products to date.
Customers Embracing New Strategic Business Asset
Customers that have started to adopt the new Microsoft Office System are already experiencing increased productivity through better access to their information and improved collaboration capabilities. Microsemi Corp., a semiconductor manufacturer, implemented an XML-based product catalog for 3,000 complex technical product datasheets documents using the Microsoft Office System.
“We chose a Microsoft Office System solution composed of InfoPath 2003, Office 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 to help us convert our product datasheets from static, formatted documents into XML, which allows us to represent all content as logical data, separate from formatting,” said Mark Stanley, corporate IT manager at Microsemi. “We anticipate this Microsoft Office System solution will cut our datasheet production processes and costs significantly, allowing us to better respond to customer needs.”
Value of the Microsoft Office System
The release of the Microsoft Office System represents an important evolution from stand-alone desktop applications to an integrated, comprehensive tool set that more easily connects people, information and business processes to enhance individual, team and organizational productivity. The familiar Office programs, combined with built-in support for industry standards such as Extensible Markup Language (XML), better enable individuals and businesses to meet their evolving information work challenges.
“The release to manufacturers of the Microsoft Office System is a milestone, not only in terms of the unprecedented development and testing work that went into it, but also because it enables customers to piece together data and operational aspects of their business where the real work happens: at individuals’ desktops,” said Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of the Information Worker Group at Microsoft. “The value of software is measured in how you use it, and never before has it been so easy for businesses to derive such incredible value from their software investments.”
The Microsoft Office System creates “smart” clients, which offer the ability to use Microsoft’s familiar software interfaces as front-end connections to simplify the use of complex back-end line-of-business applications. Support for XML and other industry standards enables seamless communication between Microsoft Office programs and applications from independent software vendors, and lays a foundation for the addition of real-time data and Web services for even greater business value. Improvements in Outlook, Exchange, Windows® SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server provide new capabilities, making it as efficient as possible for individuals, teams and organizations to collaborate.
Honeywell Automation & Control Solutions (ACS), for example, used the Microsoft Office System as the basis for developing an infrastructure for facilitating employee collaboration.
“Finding an effective way for employees to share relevant information and documents is an ongoing challenge. In the past, we have relied on a variety of intranet sites and tools, but found this to be ineffective,” said Ramon F. Baez, vice president and chief information officer at Honeywell ACS. “We installed an advanced collaboration infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services and plan to extend this solution to the entire Honeywell ACS enterprise using Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server. This solution will make it easier for our employees to find and share information, allowing them to spend less time searching for materials and more time focusing on our customers and their needs.”
In addition to the benefits for business, Microsoft Office System continues to deliver improved and innovative tools to individual users designed to help them achieve unparalleled personal productivity. Building upon familiar tools and interfaces, the programs in the Microsoft Office System provide new features that enable individuals to work more effectively, make better decisions and capture their ideas. A redesign of Outlook allows people to better organize the mountains of mail they are receiving today and helps fight spam with the addition of junk mail filters. The new Reading Mode in Word and Research Task Panes in all programs help people easily access and use information they need, and Office Online has been greatly enhanced to provide users with contextual help and much more. Microsoft is committed to continuing to focus on productivity at the individual level to give people the tools they need to succeed.
Creating New Opportunities for Partners
Microsoft partners, such as technology solution providers, value-added resellers and systems integrators, can benefit from the new Microsoft Office System by taking advantage of common user interfaces and XML support to build exciting, new solutions that allow customers to gain greater access to their data while maintaining ease of use. These partners can generate new business by leveraging the Microsoft Office System to more easily connect customers’ legacy systems to the workers who use them and design new solutions to integrate with customers’ existing business processes.
Pricing and Availability
Estimated retail pricing (ERP) for the Microsoft Office 2003 Editions is unchanged from Office XP. A sampling of the U.S. ERP for the full product packages includes Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003, $149; Microsoft Office Standard Edition 2003, $399; and Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003, $499. Prices for stand-alone programs inside the suite are unchanged at $229 for Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office Access 2003 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003, and $109 for Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. The U.S. ERP for InfoPath 2003 is $199. OneNote 2003 has a U.S. ERP of $199, with a $100 mail-in rebate available for qualifying customers in North America.
A full price list for the products and servers in the Microsoft Office System is now available on the Web at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/pricing/.
The products in the Microsoft Office System will be on the volume licensing price list Sept. 1, 2003; some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are expected to begin shipping machines with Office 2003 editions preinstalled by the end of September; and the products will be broadly available to retail customers in the United States and Canada on Oct. 21. Microsoft will formally introduce the new Microsoft Office System in a worldwide launch event on that date in New York.