There was a time when Microsoft had competition in the area of "office" suites. Indeed, there was a time when the competition existed without Microsoft.

And while (IBM) Lotus Smartsuite is still kicking about and the Corel/Borland/WordPerfect amalgam still exists in some form, Microsoft Office, is so dominant it accounts for around a quarter Volish earnings a pretty penny indeed.

Of course, it needs regular overhauls to keep us buying it and the latest version tips up today, complete with a new spin, new technologies and a new label.

The standard Office 2003 will tip up in various forms today, but the biggest thrust of the launch will be aimed at the corporate sector, where the complete Microsoft "Office System" launches with a record number of programs," says the software monopolist.

Its statement says the Office System consists of the 2003 versions of the core Office suites and programs; updates to other information work programs such as Visio, FrontPage, Publisher and Project; two completely new programs, Microsoft Office OneNote and Microsoft Office InfoPath; and four servers, including the new Office Live Communications Server 2003 and Exchange Server 2003.

The big Bundle, says big Bill, "makes information work more productive and more profitable by offering innovative new ways to communicate, to find and share information, and to manage complex projects."

But he says that - or something like it - at every Office launch.

We'll be moseying on over to the London launch later today to see how it looks.