Microsoft, which will ship the first beta of its upcoming Office 2000 on Monday, plans to include the Web authoring tool FrontPage in certain versions of the final product when it ships next year.
The company will send out 20,000 test copies, the largest ever Office beta test. The company sent out only 300 early beta copies of its Office 97. The final product is tentatively scheduled to be released early 1999.
Over the past few months, Microsoft has been leaking the various features that will be included in Office 2000. Those include further integration with the Web, more collaborative features, and the ability to install the program in components. Microsoft said the beta version released on Monday will contain nearly every major feature it plans to offer.
Microsoft's plans to include FrontPage in some Office 2000 versions is also a clear signpost that the company intends to march ahead with plans to integrate products even as the Department of Justice is investigating such practices.
Upcoming versions of the company's popular Web authoring tool, dubbed FrontPage 2000 are designed to work more closely with Office than previous renditions of the product. The company has said FrontPage would look more like Office and would contain more features that let people customise the program and designate different levels of access to Web pages.
FrontPage will be included in a deluxe version of Office, but users still will be able to purchase the products separately. Pricing has yet to be determined