Every software vendor has a support lifecycle for its products. They release a product and then provide updates and support for a period of time. At the end of the support lifecycle, customers need to upgrade to a newer version in order to continue receiving support from the vendor.
Microsoft’s standard software lifecycle is 10 years for most of their products. This includes 5 years of mainstream support and 5 years of extended support. In some cases, Microsoft will continue support for longer than 10 years in response to a particular situation. In the case of Office 2003, Microsoft released the product in August 2003. Therefore, Office 2003 support was scheduled to end in August 2013. However, Microsoft decided to extend Office 2003 support until April 2014. Microsoft wanted to give customers enough time to migrate to and adopt Office 2013 before ending support for Office 2003.
Microsoft has officially ended support for Office 2003 on April, 8th 2014. As the end of life date for Office 2003 support has already passed, I thought it would be helpful to blog about some common questions that customers are asking in regards to this topic.
What are the risks if I decide to continue running Office 2003 after April 8th, 2014?
There are 4 primary risks that Office 2003 customers will face going forward:
1) Security Risk
Microsoft will no longer develop or release critical security updates for Office 2003 after April 2014. Without these security updates, your version of Office will become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Office 2003 itself is unsupported.
2) Software Compatibility Risk
Many software and hardware vendors will no longer support their products that are running on Office 2003 as they are unable to get the Office 2003 updates. For example, Office 2003 will not run on Windows 8 or 8.1. Moreover, cloud services such as Office 365 do not support Office 2003.
3) Support Risk
When problems arise, online and phone-based technical support will unfortunately no longer be available from Microsoft, your OEM, or your Microsoft support partner to assist you. This means that you will be on your own to resolve any issues you experience with Office 2003. In the case of Kloud Managed Services support, we align to the same support lifecycle as Microsoft. So when Microsoft discontinues support for Office 2003, Kloud Managed Services will do the same. There are companies which will provide custom support for Office 2003, but the costs will become increasingly more expensive as time goes on.
4) Down Time Risk
The risks of system failure and business disruption could increase because of the end of support and lack of supported software. Many customers who continue to run Office 2003 will find that the vast majority of modern software being developed for PCs today no longer supports Office 2003. A good example of this would be add-ins for Office. This means it will be difficult to keep current with technology trends.
If you are still running Office 2003 and would like assistance migrating to a new system, please contact Kloud Solutions using the following URL: