The bad: Few changes for at-home and small-business users; very cool OneNote app not bundled within Office; requires Windows 2000 or XP.
By Gregg Keizer, October 21, 2003
Today, Microsoft released not just a single new version of Microsoft Office, but a family of interrelated apps called Microsoft Office System. And as is the case whenever a new edition of Microsoft Office shows up on the shelves, it's news. This time, however, Office System isn't a must-have upgrade for the average home user. The bulk of its new features--the integration of XML throughout, rights-management tools, and tie-ins with the SharePoint Server--will benefit only large enterprises. That said, anyone looking to buy a new version of Office for the home should consider the affordable Student and Teacher Edition, a $149 collection of Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint that you can install on three PCs, while small businesses should check out the $499 Small Business Edition, which also includes the often-overlooked Publisher. And while InfoPath, FrontPage, Project, Visio, and the particularly cool OneNote tablet PC app are technically part of the new Office System family, none of these comes bundled with any retail edition. If you want one, you'll have to invest in an expensive standalone app.
Microsoft Office System also covers a number of additional standalone applications available for purchase separately. These include InfoPath 2003 ($199), SharePoint Portal Server 2003, FrontPage 2003 ($199), OneNote 2003 ($99), Project 2003 ($599), and Visio 2003 ($199).
More photos and the full review of Microsoft Office System:
Setup & installation | Communication tools | Productivity tools | Collaboration tools | Service and support