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Apple offers deal on MS Office for the Mac

Microsoft and Apple Computer are offering customers in North America who purchase new Macintosh systems a $300 (£191) reduction on the price of Microsoft Office.

From today until 7 January 2003, customers in North America who buy an Apple Macintosh will be eligible to purchase Microsoft Office v. X for Mac for $199.99. Its regular price is $499.

The companies said they would offer a similar deal to customers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore beginning in November. Customers in Japan have been offered a price cut since August. That offer is due to expire at the end of the year.

Office Version X for Mac includes Word X, Excel X, PowerPoint X and Entourage X, an e-mail and calendaring program available only for the Mac. Customers will have to purchase Office at the same time they buy their Mac in order to receive the discount, the companies said.

New Apple systems ship with Mac OS X version 10.2. They also come with a basic text-editing program and Mail, an e-mail application from Apple. It also bundles its AppleWorks office productivity software with its iMac, eMac and iBook lines.

Microsoft would not comment on how many copies of Office Version X for Mac have been sold since the product was released late last year.

"In the short term, things are getting better and we're pleased where things are going," said Tim McDonough, marketing director for Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU). "We take a really long-term view on the business."

The MacBU has been releasing software updates for Apple's new operating system, including the first set of security and feature updates for Office Version X for Mac, version 3.5 of MSN Messenger for Mac and software that allows users of Palm OS-powered handhelds to synchronise information with Entourage.

The group has also announced plans to release a version of Microsoft's MSN Internet access software for Mac OS X systems in early 2003. The MacBU has already begun work on future versions of Office and Internet Explorer for Mac, McDonough said.

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