It wasn?t quite the barnstorming jamboree that accompanied the launch of Windows 95, but the arrival of Microsoft?s Office 97 was enough to fill an auditorium in the New York Lincoln Center as Bill Gates showed off what he called "the centrepiece of the company?s Internet strategy".
Pledging that Microsoft would take the lead in the Internet market in 1997, Gates told an audience of developers and customers that "we have brought the two worlds of paper and Web-based publishing together".
He pledged that the company would spend hundred of millions of dollars on top of the $200 million already invested to produce further enhanced releases of the software. Planned next generation features will include voice recognition technology and a facility for PC cameras to recognise users and launch their most regularly used applications automatically. Gates said: "Microsoft is in the perfect position to drive this. But these things won?t happen overnight."
Microsoft said three million copies of the new package had been sold already as a result of corporate licensing deals. Encouraging migration to Office 97 among the 55 million existing users of Office will be the central theme of a series of 30 or so promotional events in the coming weeks.
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