ThinkFree Office 3.0 coming in July

The Java-based ThinkFree Office suite is about to get its first major update since South Korea’s Haansoft Inc. acquired it in 2004, the company said Wednesday.

Haansoft will release three versions of ThinkFree Office 3.0 beginning with a Windows version in July, said Jennifer Park, a representative of Haansoft’s overseas business division, speaking at the SEK exhibition in Seoul on Wednesday. Versions for Mac OS and Linux will follow and while there is no fixed timetable yet the company hopes to have them available soon after July, she said.

The company was showing working versions of both the Windows and Linux suites at SEK.

The biggest difference between the current version 2.3 and the new version 3.0 is better compatibility with Microsoft Corp.’s Office suite, said Park.

Haansoft estimates the new version is compatible with about 90 percent of Microsoft Office functions and files. A number of unspecified advanced features have also been added.

Like the previous version, the new version will be comprised of three programs: the ThinkFree Write word processor, ThinkFree Calc spreadsheet and ThinkFree Show presentation software. It will be available in 15 language editions including all major European languages and Asian languages including Korean, Chinese and Japanese.

The price of the application has yet to be decided but should be about the same as that of the current version, said Park. Version 2.3 currently sells for US$50 in the U.S. market.

Haansoft is one of South Korea’s largest software companies. Its major product is Hangul 2005, a word processor, and Hancom Office 2005, an office software suite. Hangul is widely used in the country and ships preinstalled on computers from most vendors.

The company claims a larger market share for Hangul than Microsoft’s Office and says the key to its success is a much deeper level of localization than Microsoft has done with Office.

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