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'Mainstream' Office 2003 Support Ends

Microsoft Office 2003 moved off "mainstream support" on April 14, which means that those seeking technical support for the product will have to pay for it.

Microsoft Office 2003 moved off "mainstream support" on April 14, which means that those seeking technical support for the product will have to pay for it.

The five-year-old Office 2003 product now enters its second five-year phase, called "extended support," where users will still get free security updates through the Microsoft Update service but have to pay for per-incident product support. Users requesting non-security hotfixes have to purchase a Microsoft Extended Hotfix Support Agreement to get them.

The Outlook 2003 Junk E-mail Filter will continue to get regular updates throughout the extended support phase if that feature is enabled, according to a Microsoft announcement.

After extended support ends, Office 2003 will reach a final "custom support" phase, which is another five-year paid support option. The overall Microsoft product lifecycle support scheme generally consists of 15 years of support, divided into three five-year phases.

Microsoft recommends enabling Microsoft Update to keep its software products up to date, particularly Office 2003, as well as Windows XP, which also hits the extended support phase today.

Office 2003 may be aging, but Office 2007 Service Pack 2 is on its way to users. The new service pack for Microsoft's flagship Office 2007 will roll out some time this month, according to the Microsoft WSUS team.

Office 2007 SP2 will include various client and server updates. The details are yet to come, but SP2 will include long-promised file format support, such as the ability to save files in "ODF and PDF formats," the WSUS team explained. Users will also be able to remove client service packs using an uninstall tool.

Users wanting to get updates to Outlook 2007 that likely will appear in the SP2 can currently get them, according to this Microsoft announcement, which points to a download link.

Microsoft described some of the expected improvements to come in Office 2007 SP2 back in late October. The company also described some SharePoint improvements to come at that time.

When SP2 for Office 2007 is announced, probably toward the end of this month, Microsoft will describe details at its Office of Sustained Engineering blog.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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