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...if you want 24 hour support, then...

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Posted July 26, 11:44 PM Pacific Time

It's just a little thing -- or is it? A reader recently wrote in about
an annoying experience he had trying to get information from Microsoft's

"I needed to know how to solve a problem we were experiencing in Outlook,
so I went to Microsoft for help," wrote the reader. "After drilling
down I found what looked like a link to a solution for our problem.
Upon clicking on the link a page appeared and said that since the
machine I was using did NOT have Office 2003 installed, that content was
not available to me. I should go out and buy a new Office suite and
upgrade to it and then I could have access."

The Microsoft "Buy Office 2003" ( ) page
he was redirected to informed him that "you have arrived at this page
because you selected an item that is available only if you have a
Microsoft Office 2003 Edition ... To read and work with premium content
provided specifically for the 2003 release of Microsoft Office-
including all training courses and some templates, clip art, and more-
you need to upgrade to a new Microsoft Office System product."

The reader's company had Office 2003 on some of its computers, but he
didn't happen to be using one of them. "Now I have to go start up the
laptop with the 2003 version on it, connect it to the network and return
to that page before I can get the information I need," the reader wrote.
"This is Microsoft's idea of customer service. It seems that with each
new edition of Office, Microsoft finds ways to make its customers less
productive and really irritated. I guess they are afraid that I might be
'stealing' that information to use on a pirated copy of Office. But if
I used a pirated copy, it would probably just give me the info anyway.
The more I have to interact with Microsoft, the better Linux looks."

Interestingly, it looks like even those with Office 2003 may have trouble
getting to the restricted content. According to Microsoft's
trouble-shooting page
(, visitors need to
have enabled the Active-X control on their browser
and have their security set at medium for their Office 2003 installation
to be detected. Of course, in the wake of the Download.ject attack, we
know those settings are just asking for trouble.

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