Microsoft’s Special Edition of Word 98 for the iMac and iBook will ship in the UK in the next four to six weeks.

Announced at Macworld Expo in New York last month, the software hit the shelves in the US last week, priced at $99. UK pricing is not yet available.

The Special Edition is designed for iMacs and iBooks, and features the Word 98 word processor, thousands of clip-art images, 100 greetings-card templates, sample greetings-card paper, and Internet Explorer 4.5 and Outlook Express 4.5.

Like Microsoft Office 98 for the Mac, this version uses a drag-&-drop installation feature. It is available until the end of January 2000.

An update to the company’s Web-browsing client - Internet Explorer 5.0 - is also due later this autumn. Industry sources say the upgrade will include a re-built HTML-rendering engine, bringing speed improvements and standardizing the way HTML is displayed in both IE and Netscape 5.0.

It is also reported to have a new Search Assistant, replacing the software’s integration with Apple’s Sherlock technology. This customizable Assistant can be used to search for a person’s address, a Web page, or business, and for looking up a word and searching news groups.

Internet Explorer 5.0 is said to be in mid-beta. Microsoft’s email client, Outlook Express 5.0, will also be available at the same time, and both upgrades will be free downloads.