Microsoft's Office 98 Macintosh Edition, due by the end of the year, will include Word 98, Powerpoint 98, Internet Explorer, Excel 98 and Outlook Express. But there will be no Access database, supposedly because Apple no longer targets the high end database market, focusing instead on production and education.
The new release includes converters for Mac Word 5.01 and 6.01 to use Word 97 documents, supposedly available online by next week.
Microsoft claims that new in-built intelligence features make it easier to recover, share information and collaborate with other users, regardless of environment, Windows or Macintosh.
A self-repairing applications facility means that if users delete files that are essential to an application, the program will repair and reinstall components before continuing.
Office 98 does offer improved support for Apple technologies by presenting a more Mac-like interface, and it is very simple to install. Users need only drag the icon from a CD-Rom to the hard drive - meeting Bill Gates's promise earlier this year that there would be no complicated set-up requirements for this version.
According to US reports, Microsoft surveyed Mac users to establish what could be improved and how Office 98 could be made more like a Mac. Forty per cent of respondents wanted it to integrate well with other Macs and applications; 34 per cent wanted more intuitiveness; 34 per cent cited dialogue boxes and interface controls that look and behave like other Mac apps; and 21 per cent demanded easier and more flexible installation.
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