REDMOND, Wash., March 21, 2000 — If you’re like most PC users, your version of Office isn’t like anyone else’s. Maybe you have custom templates for the forms you need to use at work. Maybe you’ve customized your dictionary so it will automatically accept and, when you make a typing error, automatically correct the professional or technical terms or proper names you use every day. Maybe you’ve customized Office in any of the hundreds of possible ways that allow you to work with it the way that suits you best.
Upgrade to a new PC and you have to laboriously input each of those customizations again. Even if you won’t be upgrading for a while, use another PC — at your client’s office, your friend’s house, your campus or anywhere else — and there will be a slowdown in productivity that comes from having none of your customized tools available.
At least, that’s how it used to be. Microsoft today announced the immediate availability of new eServices for Office 2000 that enable users to stay continually up-to-date using the latest enhancements to Office. The new eServices make it easy for users to work with their custom versions of Office from multiple machines and when they upgrade to new PCs.
The new eServices are available from Office Update ( http://www.officeupdate.com/ ), the popular companion Web site for Microsoft Office. They’re part of Microsoft’s ongoing investment in delivering software as a service, to provide continuous value to customers and to help them receive the greatest benefits from using Office. The new services — Auto Update and the
“Save My Settings”
Wizard — are the newest additions to Office eServices, which already include Internet postage, unified messaging, language translation services, easy-to-use Web publishing, information look-up capabilities, and file storage and sharing. To make these tools possible, Microsoft has teamed with a range of industry partners, including E-Stamp Corp., Stamps.com, eFax.com, Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products, Lycos Network, Talk City, InfoSpace.com and Driveway.com.
Auto Update Enables Users to Easily Update Office
Auto Update, one of the new Web-based eServices, examines a computer and recommends new product enhancements and product updates to keep the user’s version of Office in peak running condition.
“With a single click of the mouse, Auto Update automatically applies all of the updates that the user has authorized,”
said Lisa Gurry, product manager for Office.
“Auto Update automates the process of keeping Office completely up-to-date, takes the guesswork out of applying product updates, and prevents users from potentially installing the same updates several times.”
Users can authorize updates in either or both of two categories:
(updates that are critical to the healthy functioning of Office) and
(updates that enhance the Office experience and thus, help users be more productive). Users can also choose to be notified via email when a critical update is available.
Office 2000 SR-1 is the first update available via Auto Update. It is a collection of application updates based on customer feedback about Office 2000. The availability of SR-1 — particularly its availability via the Auto Update eService — ensures that the latest product updates are available to customers in one convenient installation. The Office 2000 SR-1 update is available now for existing Office 2000 customers on the Office Update Web site, and the Office 2000 SR-1 product is scheduled to be available in retail stores in May.
Save My Settings
Wizard Enables Users to Take Preferences With Them
The new Save My Settings Wizard enables users to save their user profile or system preferences, including custom dictionaries, custom templates, and AutoCorrect and AutoFormat lists, and access them from virtually any computer. The Wizard works by allowing people who log on to different computers to download their individual settings over the Internet to those computers. Users who choose to use the Save My Settings Wizard will have their Office 2000 user profiles stored at a secure location on the Office Update Web site.
New eServices Represent Latest Steps in Growing
Software as Services
Save My Settings Wizard and Auto Update represent the latest steps in Microsoft’s strategy to deliver software as Internet-based services to increase the value of Office applications as well as the productivity of Office users. Microsoft introduced eServices for Office in December 1999. Since then, the service has grown in popularity with Office users, who now visit the Office Update site more than three million times each month.
Microsoft’s eServices build on the services that Microsoft has long provided to Office users via Office Update, including free templates, third-party products, Office multimedia (clip art, pictures and sounds), online reference tools such as an encyclopedia, maps and driving directions, and information on how to start a Web business. Microsoft expanded on these offerings with the original set of Office eServices in December. Those eServices include the following:
Online postage. Users can easily and conveniently print postage from within Microsoft Word or Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client applications, or through the Office Update Web site by using Office Update’s premium Internet postage partner, E-Stamp Corporation. Stamps.com also offers Internet postage through Office Update.
Web publishing. Through industry partnerships with leading community sites such as Tripod Inc., Angelfire and Talk City, Office customers can take a Word document or a slide created with the PowerPoint presentation graphics program and post it directly to the Internet through the Office Update
“Your Page on the Web”
eService. It is the simplest way to save and publish Office documents to the Web.
Unified messaging. Users can receive faxes, voice mail and e-mail — all in their Microsoft Outlook inboxes — by using the eFax.com unified messaging eService. All voice mail messages and incoming faxes are free of charge, with a nominal charge for outgoing faxes.
Information look-up. Users can get free instant access to phone numbers, addresses and e-mail addresses (including reverse look-up functionality) through this eService offered in conjunction with InfoSpace.com Inc. Once Office customers find the correct information, they can add it to their Outlook contacts lists automatically with a single mouse-click.
File storage and sharing. Users can back up their Office documents or just store them for easy access from any Internet-connected PC through the Driveway.com eService. Users can also give colleagues or friends access to these files on a folder-by-folder basis. The first 25 MB of storage space is free, with extra space available for a nominal charge.
Language translation services. Users will be able to communicate more effectively with their global contacts by enabling the conversion of their documents into different languages. Microsoft collaborated with Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products N.V. to provide users with two levels of translation service: a free electronic (machine translation) service for quick translation of casual communications, and a personal service for precise translation of business documents, for a minimal charge.
“Software used to be something that you bought in a store as a product, installed on your PC and then used until the next version became available, when you repeated the purchase/installation cycle,”
“Using the power of the Internet, we can make users so much more productive, not only by simplifying and automating how they acquire software updates, but also by using the Internet to allow a particular application — such as Office — to function in entirely new ways.”