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back to article Say goodbye to Office 2003, Microsoft tells PC builders

Microsoft is making Office 2007 its default productivity suite for system builders, less than five months after the suite's full-scale launch. Say Goodbye to Office 2003 - logo on Microsoft Small business community blog Microsoft will stop supplying OEM Microsoft Office 2003 from June 30, Microsoft exec Eric Ligman wrote …

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Fire in the hole!

I hope who ever is pushing this out at MS is wearing goggles so the crap doesn't get in their eyes when it backfires like the Vista plan did.

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Anonymous Coward

Too much obsolescence

Its high time that the law said you can't discontinue a revision of software without first placing all of its source code and tools into the public domain, together with the rights to use any methods or patents therein.

Ditto with hardware -- if you can't continue supporting it and supplying spares economically, then all of its technical and manufacturing documentation must go into the public domain.

Suddenly, we'd discover that manufacturers didn't need to discontinue old products quite so frequently after all.

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Still using Office 2000 here mostly

We have a few seats of 2003, and, let me see... 4 seats for 2007, all of which are in the IT Department, for testing and training purposes.

Now, as a consultant, I always recommend OpenOffice because of the cost and support factor (e.g., the product is free, and support is free. MS Office is anywhere up to US$800, and support is US$235 per incident).

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Anonymous Coward

New Versions of Office

While I do have a lot of not so positive comments about Microsoft, I do have to say that each new version of Office has improved overall productivity and quality of work/document output in every office I've ever been in. Sure it's new and it means that IT people will have to learn something new but overall I see new versions of Office as positive things. (Unlike new operating systems which haven't traditionally shown huge productivity improvements ME, XP, Vista)

OpenOffice is crap for real work environments. As an experiment we deployed 150 OpenOffice installations and the support time and cock-ups with the software cost more than simply paying for the familiar (to the workers) MS Office platform. Pay for MS Office and move on. Just because it's from MS doesn't necessarily make it evil and if your organization is teetering on failure due to office supplies (which I think office productivity suites can be categorized as) it's doomed anyway; buy a few kegs of brew with the software money and go out in style.

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Office/Open Office, etc.

Having been a user of word processing, spreadsheets, and databases of various flavors from before there was Windows, I can tell you that some things got easier, somethings got harder, and a lot of things were changed just for the sake of trying to differentiate the product from another company's. I have noticed that those that complain about switching products are seldom given adequate training on the new product. And I find it truly amazing that people will pay for about 99% of the product that they haven't ever used in the past 3 versions, much less the "new" stuff that they don't need, all because some salesman says they should upgrade!

And the FUD about "incompatibility" is pure marketing BS!

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Spot the MS fanboy...

Seems there's been a post by a fanboy....

In all the "experiments" I've done with Open Office, users had no troubles figuring out things pretty fast. Faster than in MSO for some things.

MS Office 2007 is going to severely stuff a lot of users up. The divide between people who find it easier to use and those who find it painful to use is pretty well defined.

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Silver badge

Office what ?

2007 ? Sheesh. I'm still using Office 2000. I've got friends using Office 95. Any other version just adds stuff you never use.

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re : New Versions of Office

"familiar (to the workers) MS Office platform"

Office 2007 is a far bigger shock to seasoned Office users, especially Word - which is a real PIA to get the hang of - than OpenOffice.org. I personally find Word 2007 so unintuitive as to be nigh unusable and no, I am not going to pay ridiculous amounts of money for "retraining". I can't afford it.

There's also the problem of all the gagdets that Microsoft now includes in the Office suite (of which there are 7 different versions), most of which *aren't actually file-compatible with each other*. Again, I speak from experience, having discovered that Publisher doesn't like Word files, and vice versa.

Openoffice.org is far from perfect, but for basic use it's quite acceptable. There will be those who switch, or refuse to upgrade.

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To Office or not to Office...

As mentioned the problem with Office is that in all versions most folks only use a small percentage of the Suites features. So infact for many Wordpad would be quite adequate. Further to this with every upgrade comes the inevitible training issues, but perhaps companies would be more willing to upgrade if Microsoft gave the training free. But any upgrade in office suite or operating system comes at a massive price and despite all the "greater productivity" hype that comes with each release, the reality is that the productvity gains (which are usually not really there) are lost in the additional costs of support and training.

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One thing MS usually get right

From my own experience Office is the one thing MS usually get right. Admittedly I'm still using Office 2003 and haven't yet dipped my toe in the Office 2007 seas so can't really comment on it at present. Interestingly nearly everyone else in my office (although not the company AFAIK) have already upgraded, but as there has been no company wide policy applied yet I see no reason to upgrade. In fact I've always been like that being the last to upgrade - mind you working remotely as I do for 7 weeks out of 8 this is not unusual.

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...and that's why we buy volume licenses....

Seriously, I can't imagine why anyone with more than say 5 desktops would do anything other than buy volume licenses for MSO; we have licenses for 2007, quite a few 2003, quite a few XP, and the vast majority of PCs are on Office XP, simply because it does what the users need it to and it's familiar. I agree with Rose as to the usability of 2007; the new UI is so alien that it almost completely negates the supposed advantages of familiarity with the older versions of Office.

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Re: New Versions of Office

The one comment that is wildly enthusiastic about the new Office is posted annonymously -- why ? A MS employee perhaps ?

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Anonymous Coward

Get over it

I've got Office 2007 at home, and after the first WTF five minutes, I've found it very intuitive.

I once had the misfortune of working in an IBM shop where they had Lotus ShiteSuite - what a load of crap that was. Both the spreadsheet and the word processor looked like something a 20 year old Linux fan boy had knocked up as a college project.

There is no point in hanging on to Office 97. When it comes to software, years are like dog years - Office 97 might as well be Office 1970.

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Office/Open Office, etc.

As night-hunter points out, the divide between those who find office products (of whatever type) easy and those who don't is very similar to those who've had adequate training and those who haven't.

You don't have to be a fanboy to realise that not every large business is staffed by pointy-haired bosses. If you're spending millions on office productivity suites, you will look carefully at alternatives that can shave even a few percent off your costs - and the lack of any large-scale rush to implement OpenOffice tells its own tale.

If you're a personal or SOHO user, and can get by perfectly well with Office2000 or OpenOffice, then you'd be a fool to rush out and buy Office2007. If you're happy to fix any problems using Google, then that's great too. But large corporates need to be able to pick up the phone and say 'fix this problem'. You can certainly get that level of support for open source, but it turns out to be more expensive than a Wintel solution.

BTW, the real trick that M$ use to encourage upgrades is incompatible file formats. Office95 is great until someone sends you a document that requires Office2007 to edit it. Releasing the source of Office2000 won't solve that problem.

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Compatibility

The biggest (justifiable) criticism on Open Office is that it's not 100% compatible when it comes to the finer points of page formatting, numbering and/or graphics placement. It's pretty good, especially considering that MS is wholly uncooperative about releasing the necessary details, and if you only release documents on paper or as PDF's, there's no problem, but compatibility is the key issue. Now that MS have moved the goalposts again, so that 2007 users have to save in an old format to maintain compatibility, those users might just as well have OO and save their money. Me, I'm still on Word 97...

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MS office2007

But there is the major problem that Office2007 is crap! For the first time ever, no one in my company wants to upgrade. Usually there is a fight to get the latest releases, but i've had people rolling back to 2003 due to sheer frustration. We're forcing the developers to keep it to ensure compatibility.

How can a peice of software be an improvement when they admit its slower - the new version of outlook is a disgrace! The "ribbon" obviously has its heart in the right place, but why is it so damn hard to find anything? (not helped by a rather poor help file).

I wish i could agree that this will backfire in microsoft's face, but lets face it we'll all bend over and take it as per normal!

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This will backfire, too

I know a fellow IT professional who had Office 2007 put on his laptop by the company he worked for, and his words were succinct and to the point:

"I'm glad I didn't pay for it, because if I had I'd have been very upset."

Seems like Microsoft can't actually produce anything useful anymore. First Vista, and now Office 2007? Both complete turkeys.

Oliver.

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compatibility

Office is normally fairly alright, and i am linux user using openoffice (as i dont really need any office stuff).

However, I was using a work XP machine and was sent a word 2007 document from a colleague... word 2003 could not open it and it needed to be re-sent!!!

WTF!!!! the two most recent versions not immediately compatible!!! I know this is marketing and also MS are trying to make word documents more open in terms of using XML rather than their previous stuff, but really how about a patch update for 2003 if it needs it to talk to 2007.... simply incompatible within the same product line is unforgiveable and blatantly shows how much MS think of you and the value of your time!!!

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Office is changing... so can you... :oP

My Dad has just decided to move all of his computers to Linux and Open Office three weeks after my Mum got a laptop running Vista and Office 2007.

Whilst they were using Windows/Office XP, he was very reluctant to change, now he thinks that if he's gonna be forced to change, he might as well change to Linux and save money (not encounter viruses, not have to reboot all the time, etc.etc.).

M.

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Small business rip-off

Unlike anon I much prefer Lotus WordPro, old as it is, to Word 2003 with its endless modal dialogs to change anything.

I would be more tempted to look at Office 2007 were it not for the pricing: as we develop and sell software I do believe that we should abide by other vendor's licences, just as we expect our customers to respects ours. As a home user I can buy Word/Excel/Powerpoint for £78+VAT. As a small business wanting these I have to pay £285+VAT if not upgrading. Rip-off seems an understatement.

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Twice as ineffecient

Anyone have any idea why the new version of Office needs twice as much memory in order to run the spell checker?

Maybe the added all the stupid new words from the last 4 years and doubled the dictionary size...

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Open Office

Most of my friends being students have simply moved to Open Office.

They mainly need Word Processing and Spreadsheets. They are not forced to upgrade and are not governed by anyone or company.

I use Office 2003 as I like Outlooks Junk mail filter, this version actually works unlike Outlook 2000. However, Id be happy with 2000 and have no plans to go to 2007. Its a massive resource hog as found on our test system at work, takes forever just to load a blank word document and Outlook is ever so painful.

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Silver badge

Office 2007 at work, OpenOffice at home

I use Office 2007 at work and I hate it. It's bloated, takes me an age to find some menu items and Outlook if bug-ridden crap (randomly locking and erasing email contents during edit etc).

OpenOffice, by contrast, is tiny and does everything I could want. I fed it some complex word docs and the graphics did jump about; but it took me all of 10 minutes to reset them. For the price, it knocks Office into a cocked hat.

I have not yet looked into developing on OpenOffice, or checked out the compatibility with Office 2007 (I'm running an older version of OpenOffice); but with its speed of development and improvement, I don't think it will be long before MS find a serious contender in the marketplace.

Christ I hope so.

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Worse facilities in Outlook 2K7?

I read that Outlook 2007 and Exchange 2007 remove much of the functionality available for businesses, presumably because the facilities may be available in Sharepoint Server etc. We aren't buying that either!

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Guy

Word 2007...still can't find the print button

nuff said

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Anonymous Coward

Essential new features.

Last new feature I noticed was the squiggly red lines under misspelled words. You mean there's other stuff too?

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Not a Fanboy

Man don't you love flame wars? People bashing eachother on opinions neither can change with their "facts", very entertaining.

I find that older M$ products are better than the newer ones because they don't have BS features that require huge amounts of system resources. I tried Vista Beta RC2 and the full Vista release. Both caused my computer to run an idle speed with 512 MB out of 1GB of memory. I ran Office 2007 for a bit on my slower and crappier Dell (I did not buy it). It slowed the computer down so much I could not get Office and a simple browser window to run at the same time.

For me I run Office 2003 and Open Office. The only thing that frustrates me is that OpenOffice does not have good Power Point support and when my annoying teachers demand Power Point presentations I have to work on them at school.

Have fun screwing with my post ye fan boys.

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Freedom to change

Microsoft, for the first time, has opened the door for allowing people to switch to different platforms and programs. First with Vista and it's insane requirements there is no incentive to stay with Windows. Now with Office 2007 and it's completely foreign interface and incompatibilities, people can move to a different office suite without any extra hassle.

Our first attempt to roll out OpenOffice was a disaster. People were complaining not about formating, but how the UI was different. Now they look at OO as better than 2007. We have no problem asking customers to resend their documents in a more compatible format.

Now with hardware upgrades we are switching to Macs. Not because we have seen the light and are switching to OS X, but because it gives us the choice to run Windows, OS X or whatever.

There has never been a better time to break the ties and stop being locked into one system. Thanks Microsoft.

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RE: compatibility

Jeremy,

There is an Office 2007 convertor available for Office 2003. It is available for download here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/products/HA101686761033.aspx

It works with all versions of Office dating back to Office 2000.

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Installed and removed within a few weeks

I installed MS Office 2007 at home. I was able to get a home use license fairly cheaply through my company. I left it on for about four weeks before finally ripping out all but Power Point (I may still remove that as well). My wife and kids kept using Open Office, which I prefer as well. O2K7 is too bloated and, in my opinion, not all that intuitive. Of course, I would probably be happy with Word 6.0 and Excel 95 as all I want is a basic word processor and spreadsheet program.

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OOo M$ Lotus Wordperfect

Personally I don't like M$ or their products. And NOT cos I'm a 'Nix fan either. I use Office 2003 at work, alongside OOo and OOo at home on Suse 10.2. Don't have any problems opening P-Point documents either. Vista looks nothing special really, just playing catch-up with Apple and Linux - again. For publishing I've started using Scribus, Publisher is just junk - we publish newspapers so we should know. Personally, I won't be upgrading to 2007 or Vista.I still like Windows 2000 Pro, actually. It just works without trying to be clever. Best version of Windows MS ever produced - almost half as good as Unix.

I loved SmartSuite, and could do stuff on it in seconds that took experienced Word users ages in Office. My wife still thinks that the DOS version or WordPerfect is the best WP she's ever used, and she should know.

I hate in Windows not being able to get to the command-line properly as a different user, and to be able to open several at once. Cmd just isn't the same at all. Or being able to open a second and third GUI session as a different user.

I'll continue to use my open source software, NOT pay the M$ taxes, and have a faster, more reliable and virus-free time.

And I have asbestos underwear on so the flames won't hurt. So there! ;0p

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is M$ doomed?

All the signs point to "They've lost it": VISTA took for ever to complete and seems the worst resource hog in history and now Office 2007 breaks with the familiar UI.

The same thing happened when we moved from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Some loved the new interface and some hated it, but we all use it now and would rather walk through fire than switch back.

But then, there was no real alternative at the time. Linux was in its infancy and difficult to install, Macs were even more expensive compared to PCs than today and OpenOffice had not seen the light.

It would be realy cool if M$ had a set back this time, it lost half its share price and was forced to compete on merits.

We then could speculate if they run in all direction in panic or if they regain focus and lift themselves out of the shit.

One thing is clear: they will not be able to bully their way this time around. Too many people and the DOJ are watching.

Micha Roon

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Accepting W2K7 docs?

I belong to 3 professional societies who have all said that they will not accept Office 2007 Word documents for publication. I have Office 2000, but am upgrading to 2003 for Contact Manager. But any future machines will have OO, unless I decide to reuse my copy of Office (which will be "perfectly legal" because the current machine will be retired).

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I don't like office 2007

I've been using office since word 6 and upgraded to every new version! I really think that office 2007 threw the baby out with the bathwater! Vista was a nice fresh update to Windows XP but most things left in the same place and only the UAC proves annoying, and you can turn that off :) Office 2007 is like wtf were they thinking? It seems to me they ran out of ideas to improve their software in any usefull way and decided to re-package it as a office suite for people who never used office before nubs ! Open office has become more like office 2003 than office 2007 is!

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Silver badge

..... Meanwhile .....

Meanwhile, PC manufacturers are making OpenOffice.org the default productivity suite on both Windows and Linux preinstalls.

By the way, "2k7" means "2700", not "2007". Ask any elec eng.

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Attitude

"There is an Office 2007 convertor available for Office 2003"

Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about MS's attitude? Like their grasp of the outside world, where some people (shock, horror) fail to upgrade for, well, quite some time, actually. IIRC, there are still 70 million users of Windows 98 out there...

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Productivity

I switched from MSO to Staroffice 5 when it was released and am currently using OOo 2.2.

I estimate my productivity increase as 2hrs per month, this being the average time lost due to MSO bluescreening, freezing, not loading etc.

In my book *this* and not any fancy formatting features represents real productivity.

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Hope For OSS??

I would like to think that Microsofts latest nonsense would give hope to enthusiasts for Open Source software everywhere. Unfortunately, I have my doubts.

The MS marketing dept is the most successful organisation on the planet. They are believed to have the ability to sell sand to Libya, snow to Siberia and poo to pig farmers worldwide.

While this is no doubt an opportunity, it is unlikely to be as effective as making the convicted monopolist obey the laws of the countries they operate in.

MS will not keep the law in Europe, for example, when they know that the worst that will happen is that they will get a measly fine and a stern finger waving. They can buy their way out of problems at home and lobby to get laws changing to what they want.

I'm buying a Mac' net time I need a new computer. More reliable than Windows and less fiddling than Linux or Windows...

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It hurts me to admit it but......

I like Office 2007! I've been through all the previous Office suites in various corporate roles but became a dedicated fan of Open Office a couple of years ago - I particularly liked the online support and the ability to convert docs to .pdf format.

However, I bought Office 2007 a few months ago and, once I got used to it, which took about a month if I'm honest, I really really think it's a great product :-0. I hate Microsoft but for my purposes - big spreadsheets & fancy powerpoint presentations - it is the best thing I've seen. Not worth £350 though. I still use Open Office on my Linux machine & it's still great, but Office 2007 is better IMHO.

It's just not cool to admit it, is it?

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Maybe version 10.0 of a text editor is a little obsurd to start with

Each version of Office sucks more than the last. It is more bloated, slower, and just plain worse! It is basically just a glorified text editor? If you can't perfect a text editing program over a decade or so, what in the hell are you doing wrong anyway? For fuck sake the damn thing used to just work, now even the text editing is super-fucking agravating. Automatically selecting spaces, automatically deleting lines / line breaks (even when not selected), changing fonts on blocks that aren't select... the whole thing is a counter-intuitive mess.

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docx format

I had to setup a group policy on our server to force Office 2007 not to use docx. It was a nightmare haveing 99% of emails returned because the recipient couldn't open the attachment.

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