Over the past few years, one of the most popular ways of purchasing the major software applications-word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation graphics and contact manager-has been through software suites.
Originally, suites were simply a marketing tool by which vendors sold several "office" applications together for considerably less than the cost of the same applications bought separately. The problem with these early software bundles for Windows was that, unlike most
Macintosh software, the Windows-based packages didn't necessarily use the same interface or even work well together.
As time went on, vendors began to make their suites easier to use by modifying the user interface so all the packages worked similarly and by simplifying the document exchange procedure between packages.
Today, software suites are more advanced than ever. All the leading products have (or will be) coming out with versions to support the new Windows 95 operating environment. As a result, they're easier to use. The interfaces within each suite have become much more similar. And vendors are making it easier for workgroups to operate over a local area network (LAN).
Cheryl J. Goldberg is a former editor of PC Magazine and has reported on the computer industry for more than 13 years. Write to Cheryl J. Goldberg in care of Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92714. You can also reach her through CompuServe at 70641,3632 or through MCI Mail at 367-2295.