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-- by James E. Powell
Microsoft Office 97 packs a lot of power-and that means your files face a greater threat than ever.
According to Alex Haddox of Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center, "Office 97 is a departure from prior datafile structures," in part because Microsoft changed the file formats of all the applications available within the suite. Furthermore, the addition of VBA to all Office applications offers more powerful-and dangerous-macro possibilities than ever before.
Antivirus software developers are going on the offensive against the new threat. Dr. Solomon's Software, for example, has Internet VirusPatrol on the Web, which discreetly scans Internet newsgroups; a lot of viruses often get passed around inadvertently there. And Symantec offers its own Java-based Bloodhound technology, which searches for new and unknown viruses.
What's Next for CE?
Microsoft seems determined to throw the full weight of its support behind Windows CE. For example, the company will give away its new Pocket Automap Streets travel series to buyers of the pocket PC operating system. Less noticeably, but potentially more importantly, Microsoft recently announced Visual C++ for Windows CE, a complete C and C++ development package for the newest OS. The product is specifically aimed at reducing the complexity of developing applications not only for the pocket PC but also "other Windows CE-based non-PC devices."
And what might those devices be? Among other options, Microsoft is said to be examining the suitability of a Windows CE-like operating system for small-less than three pounds-notebook computers. Another possible use for Windows CE might be set-top boxes-devices that connect TV sets to the Internet. In what could be seen as a move in that direction, Microsoft recently acquired two-year-old start-up WebTV for about $425 million.