To shore up the security and quality of its Office System suite, Microsoft
has released the first service pack for download.
Office 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) features enhancements for the Office
in New York last October, as well as enhancements for Office OneNote 2003
and Office InfoPath 2003.
Office System is a productivity suite that lets employees collaborate on
projects via video conferencing or e-mail. It incorporates several
applications, including Office Live Meeting, Office Live Communications
Server 2003 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
Improvements with Office 2003 SP1 include Outlook’s new ability to handle
the barrage of spam many users face these days, as unsolicited e-mail deliveries
continue to climb in spite of filters and security software.
Building on the junk e-mail controls from Office Outlook 2003, the upgrade
will allow users greater control over incoming international messages and
filter spam by moving messages to the junk e-mail folder based on the
sender’s country suffix or
the character encoding of a message.
Office 2003 SP1 features more support for developers using managed code,
digital signatures and forms sharing via e-mail to write applications based
on Microsoft’s InfoPath electronic document software. SP1 for InfoPath also
more efficiently handles e-mail attachments, digital signatures and XML
The service pack also improves the integration of its OneNote note-taking
software with Office 2003 editions and mobile devices. These improvements
will allow employees to insert Office documents directly into OneNote,
import meeting details from Outlook, create contacts and appointments, and
publish pages to Office Word.
There is also better rich media support to allow users to copy notes
directly from a Windows Mobile-based Pocket PC or Smartphone into OneNote
and take video notes that sync with typed or handwritten notes.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant said in a statement that the
changes stemmed from technical data and customer feedback, which were culled
through error reporting and connection tools, as well as the Customer
Experience Improvement Program.
Service packs from Microsoft have come to become greatly anticipated by
customers for improved performance, scalability, availability and
security from original versions of the software, generally after several
bugs or flaws have been detected.
For example, Windows XP Service Pack 2 is perhaps the most hotly anticipated
upgrade the company currently has, largely because it has been delayed a few
times. The company has assured
customers it will be available next month.
Because Microsoft develops many complex systems with multiple applications
that often work together, the company relies heavily on customer and
developer feedback to bolster its software in service packs.
Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of Office at Microsoft, said that as
soon as the October launch of Office System, customers were experiencing an
increase in the average time between product errors by seven times over the
first beta release.
With SP1, the executive said “we’ve improved product reliability even
further by taking action on the top issues affecting product performance.”