Microsoft ships "corporate preview" of Office XP

Microsoft has announced a 'corporate preview release' of its upcoming Office XP suite aimed at expanding the number of beta-testers from about 10,000 people to more than 500,000.

          Microsoft has announced a "corporate preview release" of its upcoming Office XP suite that's aimed at expanding the number of users who are beta-testing the software from about 10,000 people to more than 500,000.

          The latest test version of the office applications upgrade, which originally was referred to as Office 10, comes less than four months after Microsoft released a second batch of beta code. Microsoft officials said earlier this month, when the new Office XP name was announced, that the software should be ready for commercial release by midyear.

          The corporate preview release costs $US19.95 and can be ordered from Microsoft's Web site. The suite includes the latest Office XP versions of Word, Outlook, Excel and other applications and can be evaluated and used until Aug. 31, Microsoft said.

          Office XP will add expanded security controls, Web collaboration capabilities, voice-recognition technology and other new features to the widely used software suite, according to Microsoft officials. The company's plans for the upgrade were detailed last August, when an initial beta-test release was made available.

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