Microsoft Office is a bundle of Microsoft’s productivity application. This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and later Mail, Office Manager, and Outlook. The “1.x” versions of Microsoft Office were simply a marketing bundle of the standalone products sold together with no other packaging changes. Even though these were distinct applications, rather than one single monolithic program, they shared a similar user interface, integrated well together and shared the ability to embed documents from one application in the documents of another.
MS Office started out on the Macintosh, but quickly became the de-facto office suite for Windows 3.x.
Microsoft Office competed with a number of other office suites including Lotus Smartsuite, Borland/WordPerfect/Corel Office, and Star Office. Also see a complete list of Winworld’s Word Processors, Spreadsheets, Databases, and Presentation programs.
The Office 97 release introduced Outlook into the suite and massively expanded upon the feature set of applications, adding support for the new Internet world. It also included animated Office Assistant characters based on the guides from Microsoft BOB. Office 97 was the last to be offered on floppy disk. (Wanted: there should also be 1.44mb versions in both Standard and Pro, as well as perhaps SR-2)
For Mac, Office 98 was released, adding features from 97 and more Mac specific features. It was praised as an improvement over the 4.2 release on that platform, which was considered a sloppy Windows port and poorly received.