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Tech Buzz 11/03

Evaluating the newest version of Microsoft Office; a data privacy law goes into effect in California

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This story appears in the November 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Office Offers

The new version of Microsoft Office 2003 Small Business Edition (SBE) is rolling onto the streets, and it wants to entice you to either upgrade or buy it for the first time. When making that decision, look at what's different in this version and what it offers your business. All the components you're used to are included: Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. Updates include junk mail handling, XML file support in Word and Excel, and the new program OneNote that lets you capture and organize notes. OneNote is of interest to businesses that use tablet PCs.

One feature that sets this edition apart from other Office editions is the Business Contact Manager that integrates with Outlook. It's designed to help manage customer interactions and track sales more effectively. Office 2003 SBE also includes Publisher templates for brochures, catalogs, fliers and other sales and marketing materials. Equipping multiple workstations can represent a large budget investment. Still, the suite represents savings over purchasing individual components. Office 2003 SBE runs $449 (street) for the full version or $279 to upgrade. Stay tuned next month, when we look at the rival open source OpenOffice.org office suite of software.

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