Microsoft will stop issuing security updates and patches for Microsoft Office 2000 as of June. It’s Microsoft’s policy to support its business software products for up to 10 years after their release, according to ComputerWorld, and then users have to pony up for the latest upgrade […]

microsoft-office-logoMicrosoft will stop issuing security updates and patches for Microsoft Office 2000 as of June. It’s Microsoft’s policy to support its business software products for up to 10 years after their release, according to ComputerWorld, and then users have to pony up for the latest upgrade if they want to keep their machines secure. For home users, that means a cost of $149.95 for Office 2007. But instead of moving up to Office 2007 or the upcoming Office 2010, I wonder if a significant number of Office users will instead turn to programs such as Google Apps Docs or Zoho?

Confession time. On all of my home PCs we use Office 2000. Most of my friends do, too. Why? Because it came out when we were in college, and we were able to buy it for cheap at the student computer stores with our IDs. We then loaded it on machines that we were too cheap to put the latest version of Office onto. When Office XP and Office 2003 came out, the price tag was far too hefty, especially for my group of tech-savvy friends who had pretty much stopped paying for software and were instead using shareware and free content from the web.

I rarely use Office anymore on my PC, preferring instead to use Google Apps Docs , Gmail, and apps like SlideRocket for presentations.  For converting Microsoft files, there are programs like DocVerse.  However, for two-thirds of my personal computing, I’m dealing more with programs that handle video and photos rather than spreadsheets and term papers. So if Microsoft’s update leads more consumers to choose Google Apps Docs, that just means fewer file conversions for me to deal with. Any other Office 2000 users out there who are thinking of abandoning Redmond?

  1. Alex Goldman Thursday, May 21, 2009

    I think some will transition to open office, soon to be a part of Oracle

    1. I fully agree with you. Open Office is an excellent option. Besides, it will make a transition to any Linux Distribution easier (people might feel quite tempted to do so!)

      In my office, the last ms Office bought, was 2000… Now we are turning to Linux with OpenOffice.

      We expect to cut costs and downtime of the systems by doing so.

  2. John Gullies Thursday, May 21, 2009

    ” especially for my group of tech-savvy friends who had pretty much stopped paying for software and were instead using shareware and free content from the web.”

    Shareware and free content? Please. More like pirated CDs and bittorrent.

    1. Stacey Higginbotham John Gullies Thursday, May 21, 2009

      I have never pirated software, nor have I ever run BitTorrent beyond playing with it for an article. Heck, I even buy my music legally.

    2. Yes, one can manage using entirely free software.

      An excellent example is myself. I haven’t actually purchased software in a long time, simply because I get along just fine on GNU/Linux and all the free, open-source applications that can be installed on it.

  3. I agree that to chase the new software just to have it is not a great idea for the average folks.

    As a consultant doing reports to government and the oil and gas industry however, I am bound by supplying product that is within a narrow standard – Office 2007 or at the very least 2003 or else.

    I like the products but for personal use on several newer systems I am using the latest Open Office software and recent versions are suprisingly good and quite robust as well.

    As for the claim that if you do not use the latest MS Office or latest Windows Operating system goes however, I think that is hogwash. What the OS does not do for me, Norton360 and PC Doctor along with my Sonicwall Firewall will continue to provide all the security I need, and it will not be by running the latest VISTA OS.
    OSX maybe…and I am always a curious type so may try some future release beyond Beta, of Windows 7…but I doubt very much any decision to upgrade to a newer Operating System will have anything at all to do with security.

  4. Krishna Chodavarapu Thursday, May 21, 2009

    There are a number of mistakes in this article. First, the Home and Student version of Office 2007 routinely sells for $100 (or even $90) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16832116135.

    Second, you keep referring to Google Docs as Google Apps (which is the custom domain google app hosting service i.e. gmail, google docs, etc).

    But more importantly is the logical flaw. What was so special about Office 2000? Was there a gigantic uptake of people using MS Office at that version? MS still sells a cheap (being relative of course) version of office 2007 ultimate to students. So you can argue that the real transition should take place 10 years from now.

    I think the argument is as flawed as expecting a dramatic rise in Linux use 10 years from Win2k release.

  5. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Krishna, I fixed the Google Docs, but I paid far less than $90 for my student version of Office 2000. It was closer to $20 or $25 if I recall. You’re right that I could find Office 2007 for cheaper than Microsoft’s listed price, but it’s still more than I want to pay. As for the logical flaw, I’m not expecting it to happen — I’m asking if anyone else thinks it may happen. You obviously don’t :)

    1. Hi Stacey

      Actually you can get Office 2007 Home and Student even cheaper, at about $80. That’s roughly half of your originally stated cost. AND, it licenses you to run it on 3 PCs…

      Is $26/PC too much to pay for the richness of Office for 7 years?


      1. Since I don’t need three copies, don’t need the bloat of MS-Office, and OpenOffice.org is free and works great – yes, it is too much to pay.

      2. And really, who wants to transition to Office 2007? A real pain in the ass.

  6. Talmage Vick Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Here we go again, death of Office, insert headline, yawn.
    1. Office on the web is coming and ad funded. (check)
    2. Google Docs has security that makes the Maginot Line look impregnable (check)
    3. Docs is a meat grinder on anything i upload, Openoffice docs, Office docs beware, you lose content…forever…. (check)
    4. Google Docs has less features than NotePad (check)
    5. Journalist from the Valley who probably once wrote about a sock puppet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pets.com_sockpuppet.jpg) and Web Grocery shopping were going to change us all….(double check)

    1. Talmage,

      I thought you were making a decent case until I got to 4: less features than Notepad? That’s a little too much sarcasm to take you seriously. Since when does Notepad have concurrent editing? revision history with diffing? bookmarks, comments, tables, TOC, headers and footers, styles?

      Now I’m not sure I should believe anything else in your post. For example I’ve been hearing about this office on the web thing for two years so, where is it? Smells like vaporware.

  7. You obviously don’t have any business clients. Nobody, and i mean nobody, in business even think about trying save a few bucks by skipping on MS Office. Can you imagine putting your business at risk by not being able to (properly) read/modify client’s documents or having to request your client to switch to Open Office or Google Doc? Plus, you don’t really save any money because you lose a lot of productivity when you switch. First because other products are inferior. Second, people are already familiar with MS Office.

    1. It is not much to ask that documents be saved and transmitted using open standards.
      MS Office has the option to save using a number of open standard document formats, people just need to use them. There is no reason not to use them.

      It is sheer collective idiocy that keeps businesses (and users) returning to Microsoft products over and over again. Think about every workstation in an enterprise (hundreds of machines) running Open Office rather than Microsoft Office. Even if the Managers and IT people had MS Office to convert documents back and forth, that is a lot of money saved. That money can be spend on other, productive uses; like, paying employees enough to provide a decent standard of living for their families. What a concept.

      The moral of the story is that the alternatives work just as well as the Microsoft equivalent and are just as user friendly. It is not like we are asking people to use GNU Emacs + LaTeX.

      1. You people clearly don’t get the economics of business. This is something that Microsoft does understand pretty well. As a small business owner let me lay down some of my costs:
        I have employees that have a base salary around $100k/year. On top of that we give a good benefits package including healthcare. That’s about another $20k/year. When they start they get an HP desktop ($700), two 22″ Dell monitors ($600), and a Lenovo T500 laptop ($1200). So as you can see we’re shelling out quite a bit of money on each employee. It’s critical that they’re efficient.

        Now you think we’re going to be cheap on their email/spreadsheet/wordprocessor/presentation software? Given that we would buy a new version of Office every 5 years… lets say the cost is $300 per employee. That is $60/year. That is $1.50/week. They’re making $2000/week. That’s less than 1/10th of 1% of their cost!

        Now we’ve found Office to be the best Office suite on the market. Now if it wasn’t we wouldn’t get it. But since it is, I think it’s worth the cost. The incremental cost is very little in our cost structure, and if it saves an employee 1 hour per year it’s already worth it (for example have you tried using Data Pilots on a cube with thousands of measures… not and you lost your hour right there).

    2. OpenOffice.org handles MS-Office documents just fine. I’ve used OOo in a work environment for years, just because I can, and no one has ever noticed that I wasn’t using MS-Office. The only component that is hard to part with in a corporate environment is Outlook, Thunderbird just doesn’t have all the features and integration. But Word/Excel/Powerpoint? Easily replaced with OOo.

      Inferior? Having used OOo for many years now, I find it superior in many ways.

  8. Do you still remember wordstar, wordperfect, lotus 1-2-3 time? Make those document compatible with each other is hell job. End up we need to buy and install those application in order to deal with our clients.

    Looks, we dont have the problem to exchange document in today world because we are using the similar platform. User do not need to check what type of document people send to them. Work is so efficient.

    If I can perform better using office, get my proposal right on time and presentable, presentation is fantastic and worksheet get up to date figure and chart is populated. This is how we get the work done.

    Openoffice still great and Google docs is perfect, but why those HP, IBM, engineers are using Office when they do presentationon stage ? What about Lotus Symphony

    Work smart. Some people just want FREE software simply they don’t wish to pay for it.

  9. i think open office is a more likely candidate. the reason is that most of the people i know still using 2000 do not have great internet conections(mostly mobile broadband or just free wifi spots)

  10. Won’t happen. As someone in the comment thread alluded to, the cost of office spread over several years is probably as cheap as getting it for free.

    Businesses will NOT go with open office purely because the vast majority of enterprises, especially the ones i work for, invest in MSOffice because of the integration it affords across all the other MS products (sharepoint ,exhcnage, biztalk etc etc).

    For a bussines its clear the benefits of the enterprise office ecosystem.

    For the consumer you will see over the comming years an equally compelling ecosystem arise.

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