Microsoft publishes its official support policy here:
Microsoft's official support policy used to be "n - 2". This meant "The one
we have on the shop shelves, and the previous two versions."
Now, it has changed to "(n-1) - (5 + 2 + 8)" Which really means "15 years
after the product stopped being sold new".
For the first five years, you can get free telephone support. For the next
two years, you can get telephone support if you pay for it. For the eight
years after that, information remains available in the knowledgebase so you
can look it up yourself. That last 8 is really "8+", because there's
nothing old enough to have fallen off the end of the knowledgebase yet.
However, please do not confuse "support" with "producing fixes for". The
whole deal with "shrink-wrap" software (i.e.. Stuff you buy in boxes from
stores or download from the internet) is that "What you get is the way it
is." There is no undertaking on the part of any shrink-wrap vendor to
provide any fixes at all after they sell you a copy.
I compare shrink-wrap software with it's mainframe and mid-system cousins.
I usually use the example of a well-known high-end competitor to Word, which
I won't name because the comparison is ugly. The implementation cost (on a
Unix mini system) is $135,000 per user, then software licensing fees are
$5,000 a year. For that, you get whatever fixes they decide to send you
every two years, plus the right to pay thousands more to get the fixes you
really want. If you don't pay the software licensing fees, the software
"stops working" on the due date.
Word typically costs a hundred bucks a user in a large corporation: it has
no implementation cost, you can choose not to pay any licensing fees, and
you get the same patch and fix deal as the other guys offer (wait and pray,
or pay and pray...).
Personally, I am surprised and delighted to see yet another service pack
appear for Office 2001. Granted, there was a security issue they discovered
that gave them the excuse to issue another patch, but I still didn't expect
to see it. Now, if only they would put out another one for Word X (don't
hold your breath, if there's one in the pipeline, *I* haven't seen any sign
This responds to article <BB953A7D.13DCAfirstname.lastname@example.org>, from
"Dayo Mitchell" <email@example.com> on 23/9/03 1:51 PM:
> Thanks much. I didn't realize MS was still making any improvements to 2001?
> Figured they had completely stopped supporting OS 9, as many companies seem
> to have...
> On 9/22/03 7:45 PM, in article BB94F3E2.1C6CFfirstname.lastname@example.org,
> "Mickey Stevens" <email@example.com> wrote:
>> The new Microsoft Office 2001 Combined Update 9.0.4 is now available at the
>> Microsoft site.
>> This update contains all previously-released essential updates for Office
>> 2001, and also includes improvements for Word, Clip Gallery, and VBA.
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John McGhie, Microsoft MVP: Word for Macintosh and Word for Windows
Consultant Technical Writer <j***************rmation.com.au>
+61 4 1209 1410; Sydney, Australia: GMT + 10 hrs