Microsoft Word's Spell-Checker
                   Gets Failing Grade in Computerese
                   By Joan E. Rigdon

                   11/15/1995
                   The Wall Street Journal
                   Page B1
                   (Copyright (c) 1995, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)
 

                   The Internet isn't in Bill Gates's dictionary.

                   The chief executive of Microsoft thinks the Internet is so important that
                   every one of his company's new products should "try and go overboard
                   on its Internet features," he wrote in a recent internal memo.

                   Good thing he didn't run the memo through the spell-checker in his
                   company's popular word-processing program, Microsoft Word. While
                   the program recognizes some newfangled words like "CD-ROM" and
                   "on-line," the spell-checker can also be downright confining: It would
                   have turned "Internet" into "Interment," and "Internet's" into "Internee's."

                   Writers who really want to get their blood racing should use Word to
                   check "e-mail." The spell-checker's two alternatives include "emboli"
                   (blood clots).

                   Mr. Gates may someday hope to collect transaction fees from
                   "cybershoppers," but when Word's spell-checker meets them, it has "no
                   suggestions" for alternatives. Ditto for "Netscape," as in Netscape
                   Communications, the company that analysts say is one of Microsoft's
                   biggest competitors on the Net.

                   Microsoft officials were at the big computer trade show Comdex (that's
                   "Commixed," "Comedy" or "Codex" to the spell-checker) and couldn't be
                   reached for comment. But a Microsoft spokesman says there are good
                   reasons why Internet terms aren't included in the spelling program.
                   Microsoft buys its dictionary from another company, he says, and that
                   dictionary doesn't include Internet terms.

                   Also, customers using technical terms can easily add them to their
                   spell-checkers. With the newest version of Word, adding a term is "one
                   mouse button click away," the spokesman says.

                   Microsoft had some warning that spellcheckers could one day become an
                   issue. The Dallas Morning News raised hackles in the computer industry
                   last December when an editor accidentally accepted all of a
                   spell-checker's alternate spellings in a technology article that appeared in
                   print -- changing chip maker Intel into "Until" and Microsoft into
                   "Microvolts."

                   Despite their absence from Microsoft's official dictionary, Internet
                   companies aren't giving up hope. "Microsoft is willing to rapidly mutate"
                   to be part of the Internet, says Matt Kursh, chief executive of eShop Inc.,
                   an Internet shopping concern. "But perhaps their spell-checker is not
                   mutating as quickly as they are."
 

                    -30-
 

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