Microsoft sets July kill date for Office 2000

Ends all support for buggy suite; also dumps Office Update site

Microsoft yesterday reminded Office 2000 users that it will discontinue security updates for the aged suite in less than two months as it drops all support for the software.

At the same time, the company also reminded users that it's dumping the Office Update site at the end of July, part of an effort to streamline update options.

Office 2000 falls off the support list on July 14 -- which is also Microsoft's "Patch Tuesday" for that month -- as it leaves what the company calls "extended" support.

From that point on, Microsoft will no issue fixes, not even ones for critical vulnerabilities; instead, it expects users to move on to a newer suite.

By policy, Microsoft supports business software such as Office for a total of 10 years, half in "mainstream" support and the second half in the more limited support. Security updates are delivered for the entire 10-year stretch.

Microsoft launched Office 2000 in June 1999.

Office Update, which debuted alongside Office 2000, will also be killed, Microsoft said. "Starting August 1, 2009, Microsoft will discontinue support for the Office Update website," the company said in an entry to an Office engineering blog.

Users who have been using Office Update to grab patches will be redirected to the newer Microsoft Update site starting Aug. 1.

"This move will allow us to provide a more simplified and consistent experience for users across Microsoft products," the blog post read.

Although Microsoft didn't say so, Office Update was unnecessary once it stopped supporting Office 2000, which was the only suite unable to use the Microsoft Update alternative.

Also getting the boot is the Office Inventory Tool, an enterprise management tool that lets IT administrators check Office 2000, Office XP, and Office 2003 patch status on machines remotely. Microsoft urged system administrators still wedded to Office Inventory to switch to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Microsoft may be dropping patch support for Office 2000, but that doesn't mean hackers won't be uncovering new vulnerabilities or using them to hijack machines.

In fact, Office 2000 has been patched 15 times so far this year alone, 12 of which were labeled "critical," Microsoft's most serious threat ranking.

Just last week, Microsoft patched 10 bugs in PowerPoint 2000, the presentation maker in Office 2000.

Microsoft is currently working on Office 2010, but has not nailed down a ship date. Some users, however, will begin testing Office 2010 in July, the same month Office 2000 gets its death certificate.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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