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Excel, from Microsoft, is a powerful spreadsheet application for Mac, Windows, and OS/2. Excel was first released for the Mac. When it was ported to Windows 2.x, they started at version "2.0" to one up current Mac version. There was never a DOS version. Instead, DOS and 8-bit platforms used the older Microsoft Multiplan. Excel was later bundled as part of Microsoft Office


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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.


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Microsoft Works was a scaled-down Word Processor, Spreadsheet, and Database bundle geared towards the home user. It was released in variants for early DOS, Windows, and Macintosh. Microsoft Works competed against FrameWork, AlphaWorks/LotusWorks, PFS First Choice, and many others. Works was a completely different product from, and even competed against Microsoft Office. Occasionally, Works was bundled with a version of Word, to cover for weaknesses and lack of popularity of the native word processor in the package. Microsoft Works was discontinued in 2007, with the final version being 9.0.


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Microsoft Multiplan was an early 8-bit spreadsheet application for CP/M and MS-DOS with ports to numerous other platforms in the early 80s. Initially it competed against VisiCalc and later Lotus 1-2-3. A companion product, Microsoft Chart, provided graphing support. Multiplan was never ported to Windows, where it was replaced with Microsoft Excel. Excel also replaced Multiplan on the Macintosh platform.