Microsoft Corporation is teaming with Symantec to bring its WinFax Starter Edition to Outlook 98, which is due in the first half of this year. The integrated fax product will allow Outlook 98 users to send, receive, and compose faxes. WinFax Starter Edition is a slimmed-down version of WinFax Pro. Microsoft looked to Symantec because its fax program won't run on both Windows 95 and NT.

"We needed to find or develop a fax package that runs on both platforms," said Doug Stumberger, an Outlook product manager. "The fact that we've included what is considered to be the most widely used fax software in Outlook 98 will only help to increase our acceptance by the market when we ship. It will help drive our channel presence and it will help drive our sells and upgrade rates."

Microsoft and Symantec may use this agreement to extend their partnership elsewhere as well.

"Symantec has a large number of products, many of which have some relevance to Microsoft," said Michael Kerman, VP of market development at Symantec. "We're trying to approach this in a holistic manner, of saying, 'What are you guys involved in that you wish you weren't? What kinds of things can we take off your hands?'"

Outlook 98 will be available for free to registered users of Outlook 97, Office 97, or Exchange Server