It's only been six months since Microsoft launched Office 2007 at retail. But as of July 1, 2007, Microsoft won't be making the OEM version of Office 2003 to its PC partners, a k a "OEMs."
Eric Ligman, Senior Manager of Small Business Community Engagement with Microsoft, reminded OEMs and customers of the pending cut-off date in a blog posting dated June 18:
"After June 30, 2007 , OEM Microsoft Office 2003 will no longer be available from Microsoft. 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 OEM Microsoft Office to them."
Ligman reminded resellers that customers still withing to run Office 2003 can take advantage of the downgrade rights available to volume licensees of Office 2007. He blogged:
Customers "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."
With Office 2007, Microsoft has engaged in a concerted effort to encourage more PC retailers and system builders to preload Office on new machines. In January, Microsoft launched a referral payment pilot Program for Office Ready, via which the company targeted system builders interested in pre-installing the Microsoft Office Ready image on PCs sold to resellers.
Microsoft has told OEMs that they must stop selling Windows XP preloaded on machines as of January 29, 2008. Retailers also are required to stop selling XP on that date. System builders, however, are not required to stop selling XP bundled on systems until January 29, 2009.