In just a few short days, one of Microsoft's most successful products will have its official support shut down. As the company previously announced many years ago, the extended but official support for its Office XP productivity software suite will be shut down on July 11. The primary support level for Office XP shut down back in 2006. This new deadline means that after July 11 there will be no further support for the product. That includes no more software update.
It also means that if you are still using Office XP as part of your work you might want to consider switching to an updated version of Office very soon. Because there won't be any more software updates Office XP will be vulnerable to any future exploits that may be discovered and then used by hackers.
Launched in March 2001, Office XP was a big improvement over the previous version, Office 2000. It included the addition of a Safe Mode so users could still open Office apps when they might not otherwise Many users were happy that Office XP ditched "Clippit", the animated paper clip that was supposed to help users with Office 2000 features. Instead it became a huge annoyance and has been mocked and satirized even today. Office XP was also the first Office product to require a product activation feature to help combat the piracy of the software.
Microsoft has of course moved on with more advanced versions (Office 2003, Office 2007 and Office 2010). The next version of the Office suite is Office 2012 which is due for release in, naturally, 2012. Microsoft has also recently launched Office 365, a web based version of its Office software.