LOS ANGELES -- Ashton-Tate Corp. last week intensified its battle with rival Microsoft Corp. for a share of Apple Computer's Macintosh market by unveiling a package of software and announcing that it had acquired a small, Newbury Park software house.

The Newbury Park firm, Ann Arbor Softworks Inc., developed two of the Apple programs that Ashton-Tate plans to market heavily -- a graphics package and word-processing software.

The Torrance, Calif.-based company would not disclose what it paid for Ann Arbor.

Industry publication Macintosh Today reported last week that the deal could be worth up to $30 million, including future royalties to Ann Arbor principals.

"It's a killer, man," Ashton-Tate Chairman and Chief Executive Edward Esber said of the new word-processing program acquired through the Ann Arbor buyout. "We scoured the universe looking at Macintosh word-processing prospects, and bar none this company had the best talent and best product of any we've seen," he said after the announcement in Palo Alto.

Tiny Ann Arbor Softworks has business and marketing operations in Newbury Park, although its founder, Scott Wiener, heads a team of 12 software developers in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ashton-Tate will be moving Ann Arbor out of Newbury Park to a location near Sunnyvale, where Ashton-Tate will base its new Macintosh software division. All 25 Ann Arbor employees have been offered jobs.

Last September, Ashton-Tate introduced its first software for Macintosh -- a version of its data base management program that already is the industry leader on International Business Machines Corp. PCs and IBM compatibles.

Microsoft dominates word processing and spread sheet applications in the Macintosh market. That market is luring more developers because of Apple's increased emphasis on lucrative corporate sales.

FullPaint, which has been on the market since 1986, is one of Ann Arbor's two main products. The other, FullWrite Professional, will be shipped by Ashton-Tate beginning in April.

Analysts expect FullWrite Professional to compete with Microsoft's Word program, which dominates the Macintosh word-processing market. Ashton-Tate said that its entry combines word processing, graphics capabilities and desk-top publishing functions, which offer the ability to produce near-typeset-quality documents using a PC and laser printer.

Harvey Allison, an analyst with Wertheim Schroder in New York, said Ashton-Tate "shouldn't have any trouble getting {retail} shelf space" because of its marketing clout and size.

However, it still must lure buyers for its new software, and Allison said that may be more difficult initially.

"{Microsoft's} share of the Macintosh market is enormous, and you certainly can't expect to dislodge that in the near term," Allison said.

Ashton-Tate -- one of the three largest PC software firms along with Microsoft and Lotus Development Corp. -- held buyout talks with Ann Arbor for about eight months, said Mark Marlow, Ann Arbor's executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Also last week, Ashton-Tate unveiled a number-crunching spreadsheet program called Full Impact that will compete with Microsoft's leading Excel program in the Macintosh market.