Microsoft prepares next Office 2003 Beta

Monday, Microsoft will release the second beta version of its Office 2003 applications suite, an upgrade that's slated for general availability this summer. The vendor expects the test code to be snapped up by 500,000 customers, partners, integrators, and developers.

Three things are entirely new in beta 2 of the suite, which had been code-named Office 11. They are new spam filters in Outlook, a CRM-like app called Business Contact Manager for small businesses, and digital-rights management technology,

The digital-rights tool is an example of how Microsoft's desktop applications increasingly rely on server-based software to work. The tool, represented as a "do not enter" icon at the top of the Word toolbar, lets a user assign permissions so other designated users can access and read a document. To function, however, it requires a connection to Windows Server 2003 or to Microsoft's Passport online identity-management service.

News source: InformationWeek

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