Third Time's a Charm for Microsoft Handhelds

If the cliché 'third time's a charm' means anything, then Microsoft ought to succeed with their newest entry into the already crowded handheld marketplace.

The company began distributing its first foray into the market so capitalized by Palm in late 1998, but failed to make a name for itself with the Jupiter handheld--mostly due to the gargantuan price of $800 to $1,000 each.

It was back to the drawing board with the Pocket PC, but that, too, failed. Along came the third incarnation of the product, dubbed the Handheld PC 2000, but this time Microsoft is aiming for a business market versus consumer, and actually sees the handheld as an extension of a laptop versus a held-in-the-hand device.

Although prices are expected to be what they were with the first version in 1998, the company believes buyers actually are getting more for their money. Each device will come standard with mini-versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as a scaled-down version of the company's Internet Explorer browser.

The Handheld PC 2000 is expected to be available in the next several weeks.

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