Microsoft Office to Run on New OS
Wednesday October 30, 7:04 pm ET

Next Microsoft Office Version to Run Only on Two Latest Editions of Windows Operating Systems

REDMOND, Wash. (AP) -- Microsoft Corp.'s next version of its Office business suite will run only on the two latest editions of the Windows operating systems, the company said.

The new version, codenamed Office 11, will be compatible only with Windows XP and Windows 2000 for security and reliability reasons, Microsoft spokesman Jason Carson said Wednesday. Office 11, which is now in beta testing, is scheduled for release in mid-2003.

Although some people may not like being forced to upgrade their operating system, it still makes sense, said Frank Gillett, principal analyst for Forrester Research.

"There's an awful lot of companies out there who are mad at Microsoft," he said, noting some businesses' dissatisfaction with a new licensing program Microsoft has adopted.

That program ended many software discounts and required companies to sign multiyear contracts for upgrades and service in a type of software-subscription service. Otherwise, they face much higher software costs when they upgrade.

Limiting the compatibility with older versions of Windows saves Microsoft time and money, he said. The company won't have to test Office 11 across every possible computer running every version of Windows, he said.

But Gillett added that by the time Office 11 is released and companies adopt it, older Windows versions such as Windows 98 will be outdated and many companies would be looking to upgrade their systems anyway.

In Office 11, documents are formatted in the XML programming standard, which requires more memory and faster processing speed. In addition, the idea behind Office 11 and XML is to allow for key changes logged into one document to be automatically sent to and updated in other documents across a network. That also requires more processing power, Gillett noted.

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