Microsoft Corporation announced on Monday the shipment of Office 2000 Beta 1 to over 20,000 partners, corporations, and individual beta testers. Office 2000 Beta 1 will ship with the first beta of FrontPage 2000, which will be packaged with certain versions of Office 2000. The company also refuted recent reports by stating in a press release that it intends to release Office 2000 "this fall."

"We're excited to provide so many customers with Beta 1 at this early stage so they can begin evaluating some of the great new Web collaboration features in Office 2000," said Steven Sinofsky, general manager for Office products. "We've made some big investments so the Web will really work for our customers, without asking them to learn a host of new tools."

The primary improvement in Office 2000 is widespread Web integration. All Office products will be able to save a read HTML natively, while retaining full compatibility with the wide range of features Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook users are used to.

The integration of FrontPage with Office has been rumored for some time: Today's announcement confirms that Office 2000 users will get FrontPage 2000 in the box. Microsoft describes FP2K as a "total Web solution" for creating and managing Web sites that will house the HTML documents users can now so easily create with Office 2000.

For more information about Office 2000, please visit Microsoft's Office 2000 Preview Web site