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Microsoft sets July 1 as Office 2003 OEM drop-dead date

It will stop shipping the suite to OEMs and system builders

June 18, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. announced today that it will pull the plug on Office 2003 the last day of June, after which it won't ship the suite to original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and system builders.

In a blogged announcement, Eric Ligman, Microsoft's senior manager for small-business community engagement, set the cut-off. "After June 30, 2007, OEM Microsoft Office 2003 will no longer be available," said Ligman. "Some authorized OEM Microsoft distributors may have some remaining inventory left for a short time after June 30th; however, Microsoft will no longer be shipping [it] to them."

Microsoft discontinued Office 2003 for retailers on April 30 for most versions, including English. Only a few Balkan and Baltic country editions are still being sold retail, and those will be halted on June 30. Existing inventories, however, might last long past any Microsoft-imposed deadline. Several Web sites, including Amazon.com and Newegg.com, for example, have Office 2003 in stock.

Support for existing Office 2003 customers doesn't end until Jan. 13, 2009, at which time the suite will move into what Microsoft calls "extended" support. That phase, in which only critical security fixes to the software will be provided, will run another five years, until Jan. 14, 2014.

Ligman also reminded Microsoft's corporate customers who buy volume licensed versions of Office 2007 that they can apply downgrade rights to install Office 2003 on existing hardware. OEM editions of Office, however, do not come with downgrade rights.

Microsoft has set the drop-dead date for Windows XP, the dominant operating system when Office 2003 debuted, as Jan. 31, 2008, for retail and OEM, and a year later for system builders.

Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.



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