Office 11 won't run on Win9x, says MS

Win2k and XP only

Microsoft is kissing goodbye to Win9x users with Office 11. The product, currently in beta, will require Win2k SP3 or XP, according to a posting, reported here in Betanews, by Office 11 beta coordinators, who said that stability and security were the reasons for dropping Win9x.

The move is, up to a point, understandable, although Microsoft will still be subject to accusations that it's trying to force people to upgrade. Windows 98 is already out of mainstream support, and the unlovable WinME gets it at the end of next year, according to the big Microsoft lifecycle list, and Microsoft really does want to leave the old 9x kernel behind it.

In addition, many of the likely users of Office 11 will be businesses who're already on Win2k at least as a standard platform, and although there will still be Win9x installations out there for years to come, we'd hazard a guess that not many of them are going to be in the hands of people who can afford to, or even want to, run Microsoft's premier office product. Microsoft meanwhile has had a lot of trouble in recent years convincing customers they want to upgrade to the latest and greatest in productivity, so you could just as well say that not issuing Office 11 for 9x is as much reason for people to not upgrade Office as it is for them to upgrade their OS.

So we'll let them off this time. But the security get-out is worth watching, nevertheless, and at some point it's perfectly likely that Microsoft will find it convenient to shorten a product's lifespan under this banner. ®

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