Office at odds with reality

So Office 2003 SP3 will prevent you opening files in older, insecure file formats. For the purposes of data regulations, stored data cannot be modified. If it is resaved to conform with SP3, the date stamp will change. In effect, the data is no longer regarded as valid evidence.

Access to older file formats is a problem that will not go away, as long as we are required to store electronic information for prolonged periods. Historical data may need to be accessed at any time and this data has to remain unmodified.

By issuing a service pack that prevents access to older file formats, then releasing a complex workaround which should only be performed by a computer expert, Microsoft is undermining the value of electronic records.

Perhaps Microsoft would prefer we use paper for our main archives.

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For IT people the world over who have watched the Open Document fiasco in Massachusetts for this last few years, it again typifies Microsoft's attitude to the users of its products - proprietary technology is the way to make money and to hell with what the customer needs or (legally) wants.

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