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Microsoft Office is the world’s leading office productivity suite developed and published by Microsoft for Windows-based devices, and has a separate version for Mac OS X computers, called Office Mac, which is generally dated a year ahead of its Windows counterpart (for example the latest version is Office Mac 2011, whereas the Windows one is Office 2010). It was first released for worldwide consumer use on 1990, and has been an integral and iconic part of the Windows family since. Although Office is a separate purchase from Windows – it is not built into the operating system itself – some computers of Microsoft’s partners have basic or starter editions of Microsoft Office, which provide limited functionality, and can be upgraded later on.
Microsoft Office’s iconic big three are Microsoft Word (a word processing software), Microsoft Excel (a spreadsheet program), and Microsoft PowerPoint (a multimedia presentation application), which are incidentally the first three programs included in the Office suite since 1990. Later on, the components of Microsoft Office, while growing larger, had grown substantially closer with shared components, such as a universal spell-checker, present in all Office applications. Other popular Microsoft Office products include Outlook, an e-mail client and address book, and Access, a database manager.