Suite Smell of Success
-- by Dave Raffo
While Microsoft rakes in the most attention-and a few bucks-for its operating systems, the company's Office suites are actually its most lucrative product line. Now, while some analysts believe the market has peaked, Microsoft is putting out more versions-specifically, new bundles aimed at narrower audience segments.
The latest additions are Office 97 Small Business Edition and Home Essentials 97. The programs are familiar, but the bundles, and the boxes they ship in, are new. The former includes Outlook 97, Small Business Financial Manager 97 (an Excel add-on), I.E 3.0 and free Internet access time. Home Essentials, meanwhile, includes Greetings Workshop, I.E. 3.0 and access to the Internet Gaming Zone.
Microsoft's original Office was one product that incorporated most of its top-selling apps. Then came two flavors-a high-end version dubbed Office Pro for corporate users, and plain old Office for everyone else.