July 1: No more Office 2003 for OEMs

July 1: No more Office 2003 for OEMs

Summary: It's only been six months since Microsoft launched Office 2007 at retail. But as of July 1, Microsoft won't be making the OEM version of Office 2003 to its PC partners, a k a "OEMs."

TOPICS: Microsoft, Hardware

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.

Topics: Microsoft, Hardware


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Ah, yes...

    Ain't choice grand, WHEN you have it?
  • Still want 2003?

    The only folks that will still want Office 2003 are M/LORGs who buy volume licenses, and they will still have the ability to run Office 2003, as the story points out.

    There isn't a market for Office 2003 anymore outside of that, I doubt anyone wants to drop their even-OEM-sized dollars on an Office license and be stuck with a product almost half a decade old now.

    Not to mention, if your spreadsheet app can't calculate using all available processor cores, it's isn't really a spreadsheet app in this modern world. :-)
    • If there isn't a market

      Then MS doesn't have to demand or use license prohibitions, so your comment does not seem to be born out by the actions of Microsoft.
    • We still load Office 2000 SP3

      I guess we are in trouble then, We are still using Office 2000 SP3. We will not get to Office 2003 until the end of this year!
  • Business as usual, Shrug.... (nt)

  • Office 2007 sales that bad, huh?????

    I guess that if you need to boost the flat sales of Office 2007, you take away all other choices.

    Usual Microsoft business, nothing new here.
    linux for me
    • Office2003 is an obsolete version

      Companies normally discontinue sales of the previous version of a product when a new version comes out. I can assume that you said the same thing about Mac OS/9, Quicken 2000 and Netware/386 as well. But of course not! It's Microsoft! They're baaaadd.
      Salman Pak
      • even small companies need time to prep

        The problem is not that MS is pulling the previous version. The issue is that it takes companies time to prep for a new rollout. Most companies do not use enough to justify a volume license but rolling out 100 or 200 machines with a new version is very disruptive and time consuming. On the flip side, if you get a small handful of people using the new version then you have issues with file formatting and other problems. You also have an issue with now having to support two versions of software which is always more expensive and difficult.

        Companies cannot be expected to change on a dime. In large corporations it can take as much as a year to roll out new software, more for an OS, with the testing and training involved. In small companies of 100 to 200 people it can easily take several months. Companies cannot afford to be rerolling apps whenever any company (not just Microsoft) decides to put out a new application.

        The place it gets really sticky is in applications like Access, Outlook, Quicken, Quickbooks, or any other application where there is significantly shared data and the update will fundamentally change data format. It is time for businesses to fight back and demand the ability to get older versions of software after a new releast for longer windows.
        • It's not DATA that's the problem...

          ...it's CODE.

          I will say that MS has been very careful about keeping backward compatibility between versions of Access, and I *like* that. :)

          But we use Access for a major application, and even small changes in code support can cause major headaches. Ideally you'd like to be able to import the app from the old verison to the new version and have it work--but there's always something that breaks.

          Sometimes its small, sometimes its not. I tend to stay away from the edges of VBA, keeping the code deliberately as vanilla as possible--and it pays off. I may not have the latest bleeding edge bells and whistles, but my transitions are fairly painless.

          But Access 2007 may not be so painless. Which means I'd like to stay 2003 for another couple of years, thank you very much.

          Of course downgrading eases the pain. And everybody likes new toys...

          Data's never the issue. It's code. :)
        • Office 97

          I supported a company that rolled back to Office 97 last year after paying for 98SE to XP, and Office 97 to O2k3 upgrades ..... none of the users like the document change tracking and demanded a roll back ...... so roll back they got .........
          • Just "upgraded" to Office XP...

            ...and still running 98SE! Talk about oldies!
    • Has nothing to do with it.

      Microsoft has shut off previous versions in this same way with every new release of Office and OS for that manner. Instead of making Microsoft look bad with your ignorant post you only succeeded in making yourself look clueless!
      • Doesn't Sound Clueless, In Any Other Industry...

        ...where so many customer industries rely on these apps, with no real hope of acquiring a suitable substitute (which begs all the questions relating to monopoly powers and responsibilities), the situation would be heavily regulated. Think of it, if the auto makers drastically changed the type of hardware used in assembly solely to prevent independent mechanics from being able to work on the cars, thus driving new car sales, there would be regulators all over the situation. Same story here, government granted monopoly but no regulation to prevent price gouging. The product cycle is completely arbitrary and the pricing is predatory, with the proftis used to subsidize predatory behavior in market segments where MS could never begin to compete otherwise.

        --Doug Hettinger
        • There is a suitable substitute!

          It is Office 2007. Out with the old and in with the new is how every industry works. Your car example is ridiculous. When the 2008 models come out they quite making the 2007 model. This is no different. Office 2007 works with the documents created in previous versions and can be saved so that they are compatable. There is no government granted monopoly and you are free to chose from any number of Office suites. Your whole arguement is specious.
          • Au Contraire Mon Frere - It's So True and Succinct...

            ...that I had to delete my cookies just to be able to view comments on this or any other blog on this site. The analogy is brief but highly relevant. From continuous changest to the office file formats to the arbitrary term of the product cycle to the price that bears no relationship to overall and marginal costs of production, this is the consumer fraud that keeps the company afloat. Without subsidizing all other MS efforts with the cash derived from this colossal price gouge against retail consumers and corporate America, none of the other ventures are possible.

            --Doug Hettinger
          • I am not your friend and you are still way off base.

            What does your having to delete cookies have to do with Office? Your browser is not part of office. Changing Office file formats is the perogative of the software publisher as are setting product life cycles and price. There is no requirement that price and cost be related. There is no consumer fraud in any of these items. In a capitalist society you are free to set your pricing strategy as you see fit. The consumer will pay the price or not buy your product. This is the American way. That is why there are $ 100 bottles of bling water. There are competing product to Office and it was never part of the antitrust ruling. You sir are all wet and totally off base.
          • How is the Weather in Seattle Today?...

            ...baseed on your belligerent and grumpy tone, I'm betting it's a rainy overcast day today on the MS campus. You should identify yourself in your posts - not a requirement, but gives you a bump in credibility.

            --Doug Hettinger
          • Specifically Why You (ShadeTree) are Wrong

            I hit return to start a new paragraph in my previous post and it got submitted before I could reply to your statement that:

            [ShadeTree: "There is no requirement that price and cost be related. There is no consumer fraud in any of these items. In a capitalist society you are free to set your pricing strategy as you see fit."]

            Better check your anti-trust law here. Selling product below the marginal cost of production is the action that lies at the heart of all investtigations into predatory pricing / anti-competitive marketing tactics. This is true even on its own, subsidizing these activities with profits derived from price gouging from an effective monopoly, and you have a rock-solid anti-trust case.

            Get out from under the shade tree and consider taking a course in business law at your local commmunity college. All tech and no business makes ShadeTree a one-dimensional guy/gal/hermaphrodite.

            --Doug Hettinger
          • Typical response for someone that has nothing to add!

            First, I don't work for Microsoft. I have said many times that I work for one of the top three PC OEMs. That being said, it has nothing to do with my conviction that you are dead wrong. The antitrust claim you make about selling below cost is hillarious. Your the first person I have ever heard say that Microsoft was dumping. Also you should know that law you quoted about dumping refers to imports and exports. Selling below cost is completely legal. It is frequently done in retail to drive traffic. Take Black Friday for instance. Maybe it is you that should take a course on business law.
  • Microsoft won't stop at killing the goose

    That laid the golden eggs. they bust up
    the eggs, too!

    Amazing how the "best software in the
    world" can evolve into a worthless POS
    in such a short time, isn't it?
    Ole Man