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Microsoft today launches its Office XP program, the latest version of its Office software.

The program, which includes Word 2002, Excel 2002 and PowerPoint 2002, will be launched in 15 countries over the next two or three days.

In the UK Microsoft's latest addition will set customers back between £199 and £749, depending on the version, and if it's a full program or an upgrade.

The Office XP Standard costs £429, or £199 for the upgrade, XP Professional £519 or £269, XP Professional Special Edition, £319 (upgrade only), and Office XP Developer, £749 or £449.

Fresh features include: Smart tags, task panes, and SharePoint - a Website where workers can share messages and contacts.

Office XP, which will be touted by Bill Gates in New York later today, is Microsoft's first major product launch this year. The software giant is also planning to throw its Windows XP operating system and Xbox games console at the world later this year (in July and November respectively). ®

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