Conference features demo of free Office 2000 lookalike

Conference features demo of free Office 2000 lookalike

BY MARK A. KELLNER
Special to GCN
FEB. 8—A free Web office suite that mimics Microsoft Office 2000 stole a fair amount of thunder at the Demo 2000 conference in Indian Wells, Calif., yesterday.

Silicon Valley startup ThinkFree.com Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., demonstrated the ThinkFree office suite, consisting of a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation graphics program and a mail client. The products have file compatibility and interface similarity with Microsoft Office apps, company officials said.

Files created with the free suite reside on the Web in a 20M, password-protected storage folder. ThinkFree Office removes temporary cache files stored on the local hard drive when the user logs out.

Browser users can download the 10M office suite for Microsoft Windows and Linux environments at www.thinkfree.com now. Versions for Unix and Mac OS are awaiting compatible Java Virtual Machines for those environments, ThinkFree president Ken Rhie said.

ThinkFree's Microsoft Excel lookalike app opened and saved several .XLS files before the Demo 2000 audience of technology developers, venture capitalists, analysts and journalists.

Asked about privacy and marketing problems for government users who download such free software, Rhie said the personal ThinkFree registration merely asks for a name, e-mail address, city, state and ZIP code, plus a clue to guide technical support personnel in case of a forgotten password. The e-mail address, Rhie said, could be a free, private e-mail account and not a government address.

As for security, Rhie said, his company plans to offer site licensing for agency users inside a firewall.

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