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Microsoft forcing stealth upgrades

I had my first real taste of Microsoft Office 2007 files being sent to me this week. What a pain.

Office 2007 uses a new type of file format for its document and spreadsheet files, which also - for good measure - also involves the use of four character suffix.

For DOS junkies like myself, used to an eight character $string prefix and a three character suffix, this is a real sea change, since you can't alter the suffix characters using a DOS editing program under Microsoft Vista. You can under XP, but I digress...

My ancient but trusty copies of Office 2000, 2003 and 2004 can't read these new fangled files, so, after a bit of searching, I came across an update for Office that allows these new file formats to be supported. On a read-only basis.

If you want to edit the files you have to upgrade to Office 2007 at the usual upgrade costs. But I don't WANT to upgrade my copies of Office on all my machines. I don't NEED the extra facilities, as I've PAID for my copies of the various applications.

My friend Ben, a bit of an open source fiend, tells me to start using Open Office as its supports the Office 2007 file formats.

But I'm happy with Office 2000. I even use Wordstar for my basic text editing. If my car had Wordstar CTRL commands, I'd love it.

The bottom line? There really is no need to upgrade to a newer version of Office if you don't want to. And Microsoft SHOULD NOT force upgrades on people who simply want to edit an Office 2007 file. I think I need to lie down now...