Microsoft is planning to ship its forthcoming Office 2001 Macintosh Edition in a reusable plastic CD case that will hold an extra five discs to "eliminate the wastage of most other products".

According to Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit General Manager Kevin Browne Office 2001’s packaging is inspired by the industrial design of Apple’s post-iMac hardware.

Browne hopes that this inspiration will help attract Macintosh users to the upgraded suite of business applications.

"We hope users have as much fun using this product as we had making it," he explained at an international press conference during New York’s Macworld Expo last week.

Mac focus Microsoft is placing special emphasis on the Mac-ness of Office 2001. The company’s own research revealed that many Mac users did not realize that Microsoft is still supporting the Mac. So Microsoft has pushed the "Mac" part of the product’s name is given special focus in all packaging.

Office 2001 contains many features that are not available in the Windows-based Office 2000 applications. Browne claims that, with its many Mac-only features, Office 2001 is the best business suite on any computing platform.

The innovative product packaging means that Office 2001 will not include a manual. Browne explained that "to allow changes, additions and adaptations over time" Office 2001 will include all of its tutorials and Help within the product and on Microsoft’s Web site.

Mac focus Office 2001 requires at least a PowerPC processor and Mac OS 8.1, 32MB RAM and 160MB hard-disk space. But Browne recommends users have a system boasting a G3 chip, OS 8.5 and 64MB of memory.