At the Office Deployment and Development Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, Microsoft announced the release of Office 2000 Service Release 1 (SR1), a free upgrade for Microsoft’s flagship application suite. This service release includes several bug fixes, security patches, updates, and Windows 2000 (Win2K) interoperability code. SR1 also includes all the fixes and updates that Microsoft has posted to its Web site since the company released Office 2000 more than 9 months ago.
Microsoft’s Web site lists the following improvements to Office in SR1:
• Application updates for various Office 2000 programs, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft FrontPage, and Microsoft Publisher.
• Security updates, including the Excel 2000 SYLK file security update and the Worm.Explore.Zip virus update.
• System-level components that Microsoft has updated to Win2K system levels. SR1 is a major release, with greater than 40MB of code. The minimum install version is slightly more than 26MB and takes about 75 minutes to download at 56.6Kbps. To download SR1, you must have a copy of the original Office 2000 CD-ROM. This requirement, which will cause consternation among some network administrators doing spot upgrades and many individual users, represents a departure from past behavior. Microsoft has posted an explanation for its actions that does not cite piracy, but does state that SR1 actually reinstalls Office; therefore, to maintain the installation integrity, you must provide the original disc. Corporate sites with Office licenses can install SR1 over the network in a different manner. These users can go to Microsoft's Web site for more information. If you don't want to take the time to download the 40MB service release, you can register on Microsoft's Web site to obtain SR1 on CD-ROM without charge through the mail. Microsoft will even waive the charge for postage and handling, which given the high price of the software seems fair. However, users will have to wait from 6 to 8 weeks to receive the software. Apparently, you will be able to buy the CD-ROM containing SR1 in stores in May as the premium version of Microsoft Office. That version will also contain a new version of Microsoft’s PhotoDraw program. Microsoft has not yet announced pricing of this new version. Other announcements of interest at the Office Deployment and Development Conference included Microsoft calculating that 16 percent of the Office installed base has migrated to Office 2000. Although this figure was almost double the migration rate for Office 97, Microsoft had expected a better adoption pattern for a version seen as a major advanced and not an upgrade. Microsoft cited two reasons for the slower adoption: the Y2K issue and the late availability of Win2K.