Microsoft offers new Outlook goodies

Unwilling to let Lotus hog the spotlight, Microsoft is making available enhancements to its just-released Office 97 suite, including a rules-based wizard that will allow email filtering across servers other than Microsoft Exchange.

Unwilling to let Lotus hog the spotlight next week, Microsoft is making available enhancements to its just-released Office 97 suite, including a rules-based wizard that will allow email filtering across servers other than Microsoft Exchange.

One of the key new features of Office 97 is Outlook, a collaborative application that includes email, a contact manager, a task manager, and other capabilities.

On release, Outlook's Inbox Assistant email filtering system worked only with an Exchange server. But next week Microsoft will post on its Web site a wizard that will allow email filtering regardless of what server is on the back end.

The natural-language wizard will come with 14 other free add-on applications for Outlook, which replaced Schedule+.

Fresh off the high-profile January 16 release of Office 97, Microsoft wants to steal some thunder from Lotus, which hosts Lotusphere 97 in Orlando, Florida, next week.

In anticipation of Outlook and Netscape's Communicator, Lotus is preparing a comparable "in-box client" with mail, calendar, and scheduling features. The demonstration product is code-named Lookout under a Lotus project code-named Mad Dash.

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