Microsoft is to drop mainstream support for Office 2003 on April 14, the same day it starts to retire Windows XP.
At that time, Office 2003 will enter extended support. Typically, Microsoft keeps a product in mainstream support for five years, then shifts it into extended support for another five. Office 2003's extended support ends April 8, 2014.
According to Microsoft's standard policies, mainstream support delivers free fixes - for security patches and other bug fixes - to everyone. During extended support, however, nonsecurity hot fixes are provided only to companies that have signed support contracts with Microsoft.
The suite is the second major Microsoft product slated to enter semi-retirement next week. Also on April 14, Microsoft will move Windows XP, the company's most successful operating system, into extended support.