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Microsoft's says goodbye to Office 2003

Office 2003 has been around for nearly four years and Microsoft feels that it's time to send the old mare off to the glue factory. According to Microsoft, OEM versions of Office 2003 will no longer be available from Microsoft after June 30.

For those that still wish to use Office 2003, Eric Ligman -- Microsoft US Senior Manager for Small Business Community Engagement -- offers this bit of advice: "Remember that for your clients wishing to run Office 2003 still today, by taking advantage of the downgrade rights included in the Volume Licensing versions of Microsoft Office 2007, they can utilize Office 2003 today and then move to Office 2007 when they are ready without having to re-buy their Office license like they would with OEM.  Remember that OEM Microsoft Office does not have downgrade rights."

Microsoft is now encouraging its OEMs to make the transition to Office 2007. Microsoft released Office 2007 for volume licensing on November 30 and made retail versions of the productivity suite available to customers on January 30.

Prices for retail copies of Office 2007 range from $149 for Office Home and Student 2007 to $499 for Office Professional 2007.

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Not backwards compatible.
By bhieb on 6/20/07, Rating: 0
RE: Not backwards compatible.
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 2:14:08 PM , Rating: 4
Office 2007 needs no "patch" to read and write files in the same file format as older versions. The "patch" you're referring to is a forwards compatibility patch available for older versions of Office that allows them to read and write files in the new Office 2007 XML/ZIP file format.

For normal workers, the learning curve is not "huge" - a person can use it immediately and get real work done, and there will be a few days of slight slow-down discovering the new buttons to click, but once you do that, you're all set and the program is easier to use. After all, the new UI is basically an extension of toolbars which have been in apps for many years already.

People need to be able to cope with change - that's life. It's not like Microsoft invented the ultimate and perfect user interface with previous Office versions to where it never could be or should be improved.

RE: Not backwards compatible.
By encryptkeeper on 6/20/2007 4:53:42 PM , Rating: 1
I personally think it is great, but the fact that it is not compatible with xp, is no good.

I call bullshit on your claim to be a network admin. No one ever said 2007 was incompatible w/XP.

RE: Not backwards compatible.
By Wolfpup on 6/21/2007 4:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
They mean Office XP, as in the new file format.

Business as usual.
By crystal clear on 6/21/2007 3:28:05 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's says goodbye to Office 2003

We all say goodbye to something/sombody/sometime/somewhere in our lives.

Like your previous house/apartment you sold for a new one or your car you sold that served you so well for a newer one.
Like your friends in college/university after graduation.

Got to move Office 2007 out 2003.
Business as usual.

Mutter mutter
By KenGoding on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mutter mutter
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 11:24:34 AM , Rating: 4
I have the same complaint, why can't I go to the Ford dealership and buy a new 2003 F-150 pickup? I mean after all, I like the 2003 model better than the 2007, and so Ford should still let me buy that, right?

RE: Mutter mutter
By crimson117 on 6/20/2007 11:28:19 AM , Rating: 2
If it cost Ford just a few pennies to make a copy of a 2003 Ford F-150, and they could sell it to you for full price, then you can be sure they'd do it. What possible reason would they have to limit choice, when they have virtually unlimited stock?

Besides, it's not like MS would need to produce and sell retail boxes of Office 2003. They could just sell licenses and let you download the install files.

RE: Mutter mutter
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 11:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
One word: support. It costs Microsoft a lot more money to support old versions of the software in addition to the newer versions. This is why they "retire" the older software versions.

RE: Mutter mutter
By othercents on 6/20/2007 11:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
Office 2003 isn't retired it just isn't available in OEM. Microsoft is still supporting Office 2003.

I had this same issue with the switch from Office XP to 2003 because some of the software we use at my office would not work with Office 2003 but only Office XP. Volume licensing is good for those people replacing computers every 2 years, but if your cycle is 3 or 4 years the OEM costs less. However it only costs less if you can use it.

Not many people know, but you can get a volume license key for OEM products within 30 days of purchase. Check with your volume license vendor to see what stop gap options are for your business.


RE: Mutter mutter
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 12:40:00 PM , Rating: 1
I realize they still support Office 2003, but my point is that this announcement is one of the steps towards no longer supporting it.

RE: Mutter mutter
By PrinceGaz on 6/20/2007 2:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well given that Office 2003 is to be still fully supported until Jan 2009, and extended support (which is all most users need) will last for a further five years after that into 2014, I see little need to discontinue its availability.

Of course every OEM system built today can run Office 2007 easily so provided it costs no more than Office 2003, it makes sense to choose the later version.

RE: Mutter mutter
By vanka on 6/20/2007 10:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
Of course every OEM system built today can run Office 2007 easily so provided it costs no more than Office 2003, it makes sense to choose the later version.

Does it though? Remember that Office 2007 has a vastly different interface from all previous versions of Office. I work in the IT department of a medium size manufacturing company and we still want to use Office 2003. A couple of our users who always want the latest toys (the president and some of the sales guys) asked for and were given Office 2007; you can't imagine the pain IT goes through for them to do some mundane task.

RE: Mutter mutter
By Chernobyl68 on 6/20/2007 1:21:10 PM , Rating: 2

Yahoo still doesn't support all the features of Frontpage 2003!

RE: Mutter mutter
By spillai on 6/20/2007 12:39:28 PM , Rating: 1
Well Said. cant the users use the old version without support.
Or they have Alternatives to Office Applications. The average user may not need the Bells and Whistles of teh Office 2003 can opt for, and a lot of opensource and free applications.I myself is using OpenOffice for 2 years for writing articles.


RE: Mutter mutter
By omnicronx on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mutter mutter
By Proteusza on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mutter mutter
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 12:37:03 PM , Rating: 2
I use Office 2007 all day, every day. The new UI takes a little getting used to, but once you get past that, I like Office 2007 a lot better - it is faster and easier to use, especially Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Outlook 2007 is basically the same as 2003, in my experience.

In software, newer usually is better - there are exceptions of course, but that generally is the case.

RE: Mutter mutter
By Spivonious on 6/20/2007 1:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't seen a reason to upgrade my Office since 2000 came out, but I did check out the beta of 2007 and I loved the new UI. Once I found where everything was, I found it much easier to do things than before. I also found a few features that had been in previous versions but I never knew they existed. Anything that gets rid of mazes of convoluted menus and dialogs is good for me.

I just wish my company would upgrade from 97!

RE: Mutter mutter
By FITCamaro on 6/20/2007 3:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Man I thought my company was bad. We're just now moving from Office 2000 to Office 2003. I can't imagine still using Office 97.

RE: Mutter mutter
By crimson117 on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Mutter mutter
By tuteja1986 on 6/20/2007 11:31:23 AM , Rating: 2
I am still using Microsoft office 2000.

RE: Mutter mutter
By EarthsDM on 6/20/2007 11:40:52 AM , Rating: 2
I know lots of people who use '97.

RE: Mutter mutter
By Chernobyl68 on 6/20/2007 1:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
I work for the state of california, we've been using office 2000 for about 2 years now. most computers use XP but some still ahve windows 2000 I think.

RE: Mutter mutter
By fic2 on 6/20/2007 12:00:14 PM , Rating: 3
I tried using OO. For the simple spreadsheet that I built using it it didn't work. I opened the file in excel and it worked fine. I was using =COUNTIF(F134:F214;"*") to tell how many columns had any text in them.

RE: Mutter mutter
By RjBass on 6/20/2007 12:15:46 PM , Rating: 5
Open Office is crap. Anybody who has spent and real amount of time on Microsoft Office products and then has had to make the switch to OO know that OO just doesn't pack the features that Microsoft Office does. While the main functionality of the software works, many of the little things that make Microsoft Office what it is are not present.

An office where I am the IT manager for tried several different office suite products to hopefully find something cheaper that performed just as well. Open Office was tried with 5 different end users. All 5 came back with complaints about missing features, documents not able to open, worse productivity etc... We then switched out the end users who had to use Open Office for another 5 end users from a completely different department in a different city, they too came back with the exact same complaints.

Their are other office suite products that will work, and cost less then Microsoft Office, but Open Office is def not it.

RE: Mutter mutter
By Wonga on 6/20/2007 12:47:19 PM , Rating: 2
I like free software as much as anyone, but I am in agreement with your assessment RjBass.

I need to use spreadsheets all the time, and the Calc program in OpenOffice is severly lacking compared to Excel. Some things take longer, while some things can't be done at all in Calc. Excel 2007 feels like it extends this lead, mostly due to the simple manipulations you can perform with graphs.

Word and Powerpoint 2007 are also a nice improvement over 2003 and the OpenOffice alternatives. I have had some problems with Powerpoint 2007 crashing - it does happen more often than with Office 2003. Word and Excel seem stable though. I'm hoping a service pack will settle Powerpoint 2007 down.

Overall Office 2007 has increased my productivity. After learning the new interface, I'm of the opinion it is saving me time. If only for Powerpoint, I'd suggest everyone give the trial a go.

RE: Mutter mutter
By polaris2k4 on 6/20/2007 2:34:05 PM , Rating: 3
I also fully agree that OpenOffice, in its current state, cannot hold a candle to MS Office.

I mean when you factor in the price, OpenOffice is great, you cant beat being free. But when it comes to actually getting some work done, OO doesnt cut it. I tried Write and Calc and encountered issues. Formatting didnt work out sometimes, etc.

As an MS Office replacement, OO still has a long, long way to go.

RE: Mutter mutter
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2007 7:03:42 AM , Rating: 1
Also with you.

And if you try to submit bugs for it as I had to do for a software testing class in college, the developers are assholes.

I've got it installed on my video server machine at home but thats just because I needed something on it in case I wanted to look at a word document. I have Office 2007 on my main machine. $20 through my work for the business package.

RE: Mutter mutter
By thebrown13 on 6/20/2007 12:26:30 PM , Rating: 1
Open Office is a joke.

RE: Mutter mutter
By djcameron on 6/20/2007 12:35:57 PM , Rating: 2
Office 2003 wasn't much different than Office XP or 2000. I absolutely love Office 2007. It's the first real advancement in an office suite in a decade.

RE: Mutter mutter
By FITCamaro on 6/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: Mutter mutter
By kamel5547 on 6/20/2007 1:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
I really wodner why people buy OEM editions of Office... the retail edition is expensive, granted, but the OEM is very close in price.

Take Office 2007 pro, the OEM ( price) is $304.90, while the full version at Amazon is 424.99. The difference isn't that large, and given the fact you will be able to re-install the software when you replace your PC (probably in 3 years) you actually save money and gain the stability of being able to use that version for a long time. In reality most people just want to be able to create compatible documents and don't care if their Office version is 1 or 2 versions old.

RE: Mutter mutter
By peritusONE on 6/20/2007 2:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
Take Office 2007 pro, the OEM ( price) is $304.90, while the full version at Amazon is 424.99. The difference isn't that large,

Wow, I wish I had as much money as you. Because $120 seems like a hell of a difference to me. Besides, that's for one license. When you start talking about volume licensing and the like, that $120 difference will turn into a heck of a lot of money saved.

RE: Mutter mutter
By mjrpes3 on 6/21/2007 3:32:16 AM , Rating: 2
You can't install the OEM version of Office on a computer different than the one you initially installed it on. You buy a new computer, the software stays with the old one.

So, if you upgrade or change computers often, retail is the way to go.

RE: Mutter mutter
By encryptkeeper on 6/20/2007 3:08:07 PM , Rating: 1
They're shit out of luck. We moved from 2003 to 2007 here at work (I work for an OEM manufacturer), and trust me, if you're running workstations on 512 megs of memory and Sempron or Athlon XP processors, make SURE you upgrade your hardware before going to 07'. It sucks some major resources on these older machines. If it's going to be sold to your customers, recommend that they buy some upgraded equipment.

This complaint happens EVERY time there's a change to a new version of office. The only thing I really hate about 07 is that they changed the Academic versions to be single license on one PC, even on the retail version. On 03 you could install on up to 3 pcs in your home. And there wasn't a price change! One license on the academic pro version of 07 costs the same as 3 licenses on 03! That's not right! If I was a teacher, or a parent of multiple children that did not need to share the same computer and needed to use office, I'd be VERY angry.

RE: Mutter mutter
By Erudite on 6/20/2007 5:02:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'd guess thats because of the new Home and Student edition, which offers Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It installs on 3 PCs. I'm not sure what the price is on the academic version, but Home and Student is about $150, and the only con in my opinion is that it doesn't include Outlook - though I doubt many home users use full blown Outlook for email.

I work in an OEM store that builds computers and does some upgrades, and I can probably count the number of times that anybody has wanted to upgrade their version of Office since I started about three years ago on one hand. I know it's a bit of a hog, but the PCs that we're building now, even the lower-end PCs, are pretty well equipped to handle it. But then, we don't even quote Celeron systems without 1 GB of RAM anymore...

And judging by this:

According to Microsoft, OEM versions of Office 2003 will no longer be available from Microsoft after June 30.

The article wasn't talking about upgrading anyway. You were talking about it, but maybe not in reference to the article. This is just about the OEM version of Office, not retail or upgrade. I think those were pulled more than a month ago.

Office 2007 is crappy
By soconne on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 11:29:58 AM , Rating: 2
I know you're being a troll, and I know it's not a good idea to feed trolls, but anyway...

There's nothing slow about Office 2007 compared to Office 2003 - both are plenty fast. Regarding the UI, if you take a little time to get used to the new UI in Office 2007, I think you'll find that it is a bit faster and easier to use.

And please, you're going to complain about "slow" and then suggest using OpenOffice?!? OpenOffice is tons slower than any version of Office.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By soconne on 6/20/07, Rating: -1
RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By ChronoReverse on 6/20/2007 11:38:55 AM , Rating: 1
Um, OO is the definition of slow and bloated. It's great to have an OSS alternative, but let's not get carried away about the perks.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By daftrok on 6/20/2007 11:40:58 AM , Rating: 1
Are you using Vista? Because its actually much faster on that then on XP.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By ChronoReverse on 6/20/2007 6:40:10 PM , Rating: 1
Even on XP it's not bad. Inside my VM with 512MB of RAM, Word 2007 snaps on in less than 5 seconds and occupies about 22MB of RAM.

Granted, this obviously indicative of Word 2007 performance, but it's certainly not a slug on any reasonable system.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By omnicronx on 6/20/07, Rating: 0
RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By rippleyaliens on 6/20/2007 4:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
ELCHEAPO... SO you must be running bootleg office 2007... MEANING with 512mb on your workstation, with the cost of 1gb DIMMS being $32 EA... That tells us, you are one of those types of people, who love to dwell in the past versus upgrading..

MEANING= Office 97 rocked, until xp / 2000 came out.. subtle improvements.. 2003 totally rockedd.. in comparison. office 2007 in my opinion is awesome.. with the core (word, excel, access, outlook) the functionality is improved.. Visio= same ole, project=ditto...
Now with Open office, well sure it is free... but you have to realize that office 2007 will last you WELL until 2011-2013.. lets say 5 years.. Cost you 8 $ a month, for the ultimate office...same for teh vista if so desired.
YET in 5 years how many machines will you purchase..
Of course an application made in 2007 (released) will run slow on somm OLD A%^# machines.. duhhh...
Open office, still blows, considering, taht when i want to preform some simple tasks, i have to get on the internet and post somthing.. Simple for a small company under 20 usres.. but imagine a company that is in the 100's of usres.. YAH right.. that is like saying linux is free.. WHATEVER<<<
XP business cost $300 (full price)4$ a month, for 6 years... IE $1 a week..
See where the cost factor is..

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2007 6:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
Nearly any up to date business. A lot of machines in my office are Core 2 Duos and the rest are 3.0GHz P4s w/ HT. All the machines have at least 1GB of RAM and they all have Nvidia Quadro cards as GPUs.

At my last job we all had 3.0-3.2GHz Dells with 1GB of RAM and again, Quadros. The job before that some machines were older but that was also a smaller private company.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By PitViper007 on 6/20/2007 11:56:44 AM , Rating: 2
While I think that most of Office 2007 is speedy enough, Outlook 2007 is a dog. I run a P4 3.4GHz PC w/2GB ram on Windows XP Pro. Plenty fast enough to run all the software I normally use, but Outlook will take 30 seconds or more to just start up. Once it's up and running, it seems to be fine, but startup is a bear.


RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By encryptkeeper on 6/20/2007 5:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, for a lot of systems, Office 2007 IS slower. System resource usage is a pretty good indicator: 40 mb of memory for microsoft word when I don't even have a word window open is pretty stupid. Outlook takes 60 mb just with the main window and one new message window open, Excel is 20 mb with one table open (that's not too bad). Haven't bothered with Publisher, powerpoint, or access. If the Vista rumors are true, then maybe it is just designed to be handled by Vista better than XP. But remember there are probably 100 machines running XP for every machine running Vista, so you're going to have a lot of people complaining about slowdown. It also seems to be a lot slower in a LAN environment too.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By TomZ on 6/20/2007 5:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
Since the article is talking about OEM licenses, I think the ratio of OEM Office licenses on Vista is quite a bit higher than your estimates. I don't have the figures, but I'd guess that most of the PCs being sold at the moment include Vista. If this is true, then most of the OEM Office licenses are probably also going to run on Vista.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By FITCamaro on 6/21/2007 6:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
0 mb of memory for microsoft word when I don't even have a word window open is pretty stupid. Outlook takes 60 mb just with the main window and one new message window open, Excel is 20 mb with one table open (that's not too bad).

Thats because its on your startup task list. Its already running in memory so it takes less time to open when you do want to use it. Many programs are like this. Adobe Acrobat, Quicktime, etc. They all put start up tasks on your computer. You can disable them at startup if you want to by doing start -> run -> msconfig -> Startup and then unchecking anything you don't want to run at startup.

I run Office 2007 on my main machine at home and didn't notice any difference in performance when switching from Office 2003.

RE: Office 2007 is crappy
By HrilL on 6/20/2007 12:09:12 PM , Rating: 2
When I had vista 2007 was pretty nice and on xp 64bit it is still not too bad but it is a little slower then 2003 at loading but once it is started it is just as fast or faster. I have a 3500+ @ 2.53ghz and 2GB of ram. My mom uses 2007 on her 1ghz cel. and 512MB of ram. Only thing slower really is load times and with the new ui there is no menu loading time like with 2003. And the new files are awesome 12KB for the same files that were 27KB in .doc format. Not that saving that little of space in even noticeable but at least M$ didn't fallow its same trend of making new files bigger then the older ones. It does take some time to get used to though but once you learn how it works you'll probably think it is better... As for open office that program is great. Love it for the simple fact it is free and is just as good as 2003 imo.

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