The final details came with the expected announcement that the core Office applications are complete and ready for distribution to PC manufacturers, who need to test the software in preparation for loading it on new computers.

As expected, retail pricing for various Office packages will be identical to the recently reduced prices for their counterparts in Office XP, the current version of the software. It also matches lower prices Microsoft introduced last week for the Mac version of Office. The standard edition of Office 2003 will sell for $399, the professional edition will go for $499 and the increasingly popular student/teacher version will cost $149.

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