Microsoft will drop mainstream support for Office 2003 on 14 April, and on the same day the retirement process begins for its former mainstream operating system, Windows XP.
Although mainstream support for Office 2003 will come to an end, Microsoft has the product scheduled to remain in "extended support" until 8 April, 2014.
Under extended support Microsoft only undertakes to deliver patches and bug fixes. Any other maintenance will be available only to users who have signed support contracts with Microsoft.
Windows XP has similar contractual terms. As with Office 2003, mainstream support will end for XP on 14 April, and only users who have signed up for extended support with Microsoft will continue to receive help after the 14 April deadline.
Butler Group analyst Richard Edwards on Monday said the discontinuation of support for the two products should not cause disruption to business users. "These changes in support have been known about for some time, so most users will have already got their plans in place," he told ZDNet UK.
As far as XP is concerned, users will have long decided that they are either going to wait for Windows 7, or make the move to Vista, Edwards said.
"Some may have decided that they are going to keep up with XP for longer if there is a particular piece of software they use that is vital to their business," he said.
Similar decisions would have to be taken over Office 2003, he added. "The decision is to either make the move to Office 2007, or wait for the next version of Office, and in the meantime pay Microsoft, if you think you will need support," Edwards said.