Upgrade or else

Users who want to defer upgrading to Office XP from 2000 may soon find themselves isolated. Microsoft Corp. is keen to push users to upgrade to its new suite and is removing the older software from the market.

One PC Advisor reader who builds desktop systems was told by several vendors, including Simply, that he could no longer purchase the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version of Office 2000 and must upgrade to XP.

Microsoft did not set an official deadline for ceasing production of its old office suite.

“We have left [Office] 2000 to run for 11 months [after XP was brought on to the market]. This period is usually only nine months [and] we have to stop making it at some point,” said Microsoft spokesman David Benny.

Manufacturers of white goods such as fridge freezers are obliged to retain product parts for up to five years after a product has been discontinued. There is no similar requirement of software manufacturers.

“We don’t have any old copies here but there are probably some out on the market. You would have to search the web to find them,” said a helpful Benny.

Although Benny could see “no reason why someone wouldn’t want to upgrade to XP”, PC Advisor IT manager Geoff O’Connor believes are plenty of reasons why users may not wish to swap to XP.

“If you have developed your own programs they may only run under Office 2000, so you’ll have to develop them again for XP, which takes time and money. It is hard for small businesses as they will have to train their teams again to use the new software”, O’Connor explained.

Businesses likely to bow to pressure to upgrade had better do so soon as Microsoft’s Upgrade Advantage and Software Assurance schemes only run for another month. After 31 July, businesses will not be able to upgrade their existing suites and will instead have to pay for a full licence, which could cost as much as 50 per cent more.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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