Microsoft Office 2013 and Exchange 2003

Posted on Mar 05, 2013

Are you using Exchange 2003? Then don’t buy Office 2013!

Still waiting to upgrade from Exchange 2003 to a newer version? Recently, we posted an article about the reasons for upgrading Exchange, but recently, we discovered a new reason that many IT professionals are not aware of that could lead to potential issues. When working with a client that is still using Exchange 2003, we noticed a problem when trying to install Microsoft Office 2013. Apparently, Outlook 2013 doesn’t support Exchange 2003. This will obviously come as a huge problem for users.

The explanation for this issue is pretty basic. The features supported in Outlook 2013 are not compatible with the features in Exchange 2003. However, interestingly enough, this is SOP for the Outlook and Exchange relationship. When Outlook 2010 was released, it was not compatible with Exchange 2000. Also, Outlook 2007 doesn’t play nice with Exchange 5.5. So the same holds true for the newest release of Outlook and the Exchange that is two versions behind.

So this issue isn’t new to the Outlook/Exchange relationship. This will lead to many organizations and IT professionals looking to upgrade to Exchange 2010 or 2013. With the introduction of Windows 8 and the recent wave of Windows 8 tablets/hybrid laptops, many users will be making the switch to Office 2013. If you have a user who buys the latest Windows 8 tablet and wants to use the installed Office 2013, they’re going to realize that Outlook doesn’t work. This will lead to frustrated users. Frustrated users just add to the already busy schedule of the IT professional. Needless to say, this situation is avoidable and should be rectified.

So why wait any longer? It’s time to upgrade. Not only is Microsoft ending Exchange 2003 official support, but now Office 2013 isn’t compatible. The days for Exchange 2003 are definitely numbered.