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Office 97 expected to be big hit

Thursday, Microsoft Office 97 will finally go on sale. The suite, with an installed base of over 55 million users, is expected to be a big hit. Competitors, such as Corel Corporation, are lining up major integration deals (in Corel's case, with Netscape), trying to compete with the market leader. Microsoft has little to fear, however, as Office, which generates 50% of Microsoft's revenues, outsells its nearest competitor six-to-one. One of the few complaints leveled at Office 97 is its size: a full install of Office 97 Professional requires about 120 Mb. Microsoft answers the "bloatware" tag by mentioning that today's version of Office takes up a smaller percentage of the average user's hard drive than the version they sold three years ago. Also, with RAM prices in the virtual gutter, few users will be unable to run Office 97. Interestingly, Microsoft has also gone to great pains to "componentize" Office 97, so that there are fewer cases of redundant code. This would, under perfect circumstances, reduce the size of the product. If anything, the bulk of Office 97 was obtained by adding features, claims Microsoft. A Macintosh version of Office 97 will ship in June

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