Microsoft’s Visio 2002 ships to manufacturers

Microsoft Corp. released the latest version of Visio, its drawing and diagramming software, to computer manufacturers Wednesday after a month of beta testing.

Visio 2002, which Microsoft said sports a cleaner look, includes more graphical features and is better integrated with the Web, enabling greater collaboration via the Internet. Microsoft added Visio into its software portfolio when it acquired 10-year-old Visio Corp. last year for US$1.3 billion. Visio 2002 is the first new version of the product developed by Microsoft since the acquisition.

After adding a few new features, including the ability to support eight additional languages, and file formats based on XML (Extensible Markup Language), the latest version is closely aligned with Microsoft’s other software products, including Microsoft Office, the company said.

A beta version of Visio 2002 was released on March 6. The company said it distributed 1 million copies to business users, including Wells Fargo & Co., for testing. A final product is due to reach customers through resellers and Microsoft’s licensing programs on May 31, the same day the company is expected to release Office XP.

A standard version of Visio 2002 is expected to sell for $199, Microsoft said. A professional version will sell for $499. Upgrades to Visio 2000 will cost $99 for a standard version and $249 for the professional version.

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