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  1. #1
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    Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    I am just livid -- and I hope Woody is also. The most recent details a vulnerability in both Excel and Powerpoint. This vulnerability has been shown to effect both <A target="_blank" HREF=http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/security/Content/2001.10.04.html>Excel 97 and PowerPoint 97 -- however, Microsoft has decided against making a patch for these products claiming that they at not supported!!

    May it is just because I have not had enough coffee yet, but could someone else look at <A target="_blank" HREF=http://support.microsoft.com/directory/discontinue.asp>this list</A> from Microsoft and tell me WHERE it says it is discontinuing support for Office 97, Word 97, Excel 97, PowerPoint 97, or Outlook97/98??

    What this list does show is the dates that support ends for these products

    Office 95 - December 31, 2001
    Word 95 for Windows - December 1, 2001
    Excel 5 - November 1, 2000
    PowerPoint 4x - November 1, 2000
    Access 95 - December 1, 2001
    Windows 95 - December 31, 2001

    Maybe I am just out of my skull, but if support for Word 95 for Windows and Office 95 ends in December 2001, why are we being denied updates for Office 97 in October 2001??

    This is crazy. I really do not understand this. They are SUPPOSED to still be supporting Office 97. Where is Woody Leonard on this issue? Someone please explain this logic to me?

  2. #2
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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    Perhaps I am just dreaming with my 'pansied' viewed of the world...

    I guess the issue is this for me. Since this vulnerability is a Macro vulnerability, this can potentially be used to do "any thing on a computer that a user can do". That means it can erase your entire hard drive. And since it is a Macro vulnerability, it can be simply run by opening an Excel file.

    OK, you say, Microsoft is not making you open the file and it gives you the option to check the box that prevents Macros from running without your permission. Additionally, we have all been told to backup our important data. Furthermore, Microsoft has newer version available for you to use -- for a price.

    So, although this vulnerability could potentially destroy all of a company's important records -- and therefore even destroy a company, Microsoft should not be legally liable because it has other options.

    ______________________________________________

    Perhaps this viewpoint should extend into other industries. Let's say someone finds a vulnerability in a 1999 Chevy Impala. The brake line has a "vulnerability" and will break if it is used in temperatures over 100 degrees. But Chevrolet has supplied you with an emergency brake and it has newer versions of the Impala that you can purchase. Therefore, if GM announces on a web site that the Chevy Impala has a serious vulnerability, but it is no longer a "supported" product anymore, is GM now released from liability?

    How about a child's toy? What if a 1998 child's toy is found to be defective and a piece breaks off and could choke a child. But the toy company now makes a 2001 version of the same toy which is far more safe. The company never forced the child to break off the piece and choke himself to death. Since the use was not authorized by the company, and since the company now has newer version available, the company should not be liable, right?

    ______________________________________________

    Since Office 97 IS still a widely used set of programs, and since this is a SERIOUS Macro vulnerability, I believe Microsoft has a responsibility to correct this error. Perhaps I am the only one who feels this way...

  3. #3
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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    I totally agree and have used the same argument. I've read through one of those long legal docs that comes with software. It's amazing how software can carry a zero liability claim and even state that if it doesn't work, it's not their fault. We do not allow other products to claim that it works without proof and we can get refunds. I guess they have smarter lawyers or better lobbyists to protect them from having to produce quality work that they stand behind.
    Deb <img src=/S/bash.gif border=0 alt=bash width=35 height=39>

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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    I was always told that Excel 2000 and Excel 97 are almost the same...

    Can you use the Excel 2000 patch to update Excel 97 files?

    Wassim
    <img src=/S/compute.gif border=0 alt=compute width=40 height=20> in the <img src=/S/bagged.gif border=0 alt=bagged width=22 height=22>

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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    COMPLETELY AGREE!!!

    While it feels good to vent this, I wonder what is the most effective forum to direct these observations. I have come to understand that the WOW crew has unique visibilty within the halls of Redmond (at times it seems like the Softies actually listen to Mr. Leonhard!). How can we leverage that to get action on this complaint?

    Still steaming...

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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    FYI I found out about the security hole from the WOW Tips newsletter today, so, yes, Woody is on the trail (whether he's terribly concerned about us users of the "old" versions of Office products, well...).

    Can you say StarOffice?

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    Re: Lack of MS Support for Excel 97 (Excel 97)

    I do not know if the Excel 2000 patch works on Excel 97 -- but no one has said that is does yet. I would hope so.

    Joe -- yeah, I am just venting my frustration. I have this probably naive belief that Mr. Leonard looks in here every so often. If he were to put this in his newsletter, it would reach a lot of people.

    I just don't think my present computer can benefit from an upgrade -- so why should I be forced into it? I think MANY people just like me still use Office 97.

    I have used MS products since my first computer nearly 15 years ago. I have always updated to their newer products as I see fit. I am a loyal customer who feels he is being treated less than fairly.

    I also feel the amount of effort this would take on their part would be minimal. Excel 97 IS similar to Excel 2000 -- so why not give the customer better service? Because they simple don't have to. Did I hear 'monopoly'?
    _____________________

    As I was typing this, my Inbox alarmed and I got Woody's newsletter. Here are his comments:

    " If you use Excel 97 or PowerPoint 97, you're exposed, but
    Microsoft is letting you twist in the wind.

    Neither Excel 97 nor PowerPoint 97 have anywhere near the
    kind of security checking that's in their later versions,
    but they do have some, and (apparently) that security
    checking can be fooled by the same technique. In short,
    Office 97 users are SOL."

    "WHILE I HAVE YOUR EAR
    Didja notice that Microsoft is dropping support for Windows
    NT 4? I wonder what would happen if a security hole this
    big were discovered in NT 4? Would the people in charge of
    Microsoft's new "Strategic Technology Protection Program"
    just say, "Sorry, folks, but you can go pound sand 'cuz we
    don't support you any more."?

    Office 97 users deserve better."

    So at least Woody is seeing this the way we are. I wish he was a little more reactionary -- but he has probably learned over the years that being non-reactionary gets a better response! Me, I am still in the reactionary phase!! ;-]

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