Corel, Microsoft to rent Office suites on Web

Two of the major players in Office suits announced this week that they would soon be renting their products over the Internet for a monthly fee. Microsoft Corporation, with its Office 2000 suite, and Corel Corporation, with WordPerfect Office 2000, are moving their suites to the Web in an effort to confront a major shift in the way people use software.

Microsoft's effort, which is dubbed Office Online, will provide corporate customers with a centrally-managed solution by providing the standard Office 2000 applications to sites over a high-speed connection. This new type of remote access software is expected to benefit those places that have limited technical support, such as small businesses, the most.

"We are moving into the next wave of the Web where software and services are delivered together, and we are excited to offer Office 2000 to our customers in this new way," said Steven Sinofsky, the Microsoft VP in charge of the Office productivity division. "Providing productivity applications along with services over the Internet is a new opportunity for industry partners, and Office Online will offer new solutions for our customers. With Office Online, we believe the world's leading desktop productivity suite will contribute to the growth of this emerging industry."

Meanwhile, Canadian competitor Corel is preparing its answer to Office Online, a Web-based service that will see products in its WordPerfect Office 2000 suite available to users online. The company is planning to offer the service for only $9.99 a month

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