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If you, your company, or department, have standardised on Office 2000, and you're not keen on buying copies of Office XP for any new machines, then you'd better stock up on packs of Office 2000 now.

Microsoft stopped selling volume licence copies of Office 2000 at the end of May. Single licence copies will be removed from Microsoft's price list at the end of July.

When something is off Microsoft's price list it means the company is no longer selling it to distribution/retail, but the channel will/may still have copies.

David Bennie, Microsoft's UK Office product man, believes it be a bit of a non-issue. Based on how long it took Office 97 to disappear following the arrival of Office 2000, he thinks there's a good six months of shelf time left for the older product.

But all this depends on whether the channel think its worth keeping hold of copies of Office 2000. We're already hearing stories of retailers and distributors hunting down and snapping up any copies found knocking about because they're in short supply.

The retail version of Office XP comes with a technology guarantee, meaning the customer could swap it for a version of 2000 if they wanted, but this guarantee disappears at the end of July. Just as Office 2000 disappears.

And Bennie admits: "By the end of July, most of our channel partners would not want to be selling 2000."

However if you buy volume-licence Office XP, this also grants you a licence to run Office 2000. So if you can't find the version of Office 2000 you want, you can buy XP then download a copy of it 2000 from Microsoft. A pain in the bum, maybe, but you can do it.

At present there are no pricing issues involved with buying 2000 over XP, or vice versa, but these are likely to kick in when one is in short supply. ®

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