If you don't want to spent thousands of dollars, do check out
or search for Manifold System.
This is a REALLY powerful GIS program, but unlike
ESRI ( or unlike M$ ) they don't do exhibitons etc. so the cost is WAY down.
They retail their product at $245.00 US!
Reading on their webpage, it appears to me that I way overpaid ESRI since some of the options available in Manifold aren't available.
Do check it out for yourself.
P.S. Manifold does import and export Shape and .e00 files as well as A LOT of other ones.