Six months ago, Microsoft announced it would be ending "Mainstream Support," which includes security updates and other bug fixes, for Microsoft Office 2004 on 13-Oct-2009 (see "Microsoft Office 2008 12.1.7 and 2004 11.5.4 Updates", 2009-04-15). The five-year-old office productivity suite has now received a stay of execution, with Microsoft announcing on its Mac Mojo blog that it will extend support until 10-Jan-2012.
In the post, Microsoft acknowledges that while many users have switched over to Office 2008, those who depend on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) still require the 2004 version, as Office 2008 lacks VBA support. With the forthcoming 2010 release of Microsoft Office expected to bring back support for VBA, Microsoft says it wants to ensure continuous cross-platform support for those users who require it.
While the extension means Office 2004 will have been supported for nearly 8 years by the time it reaches end-of-life status, Microsoft has made it clear that this does not change the standard 5-year support policy for other Office products.
It's good to see Microsoft considering all of its Office users with this support extension, though we imagine that many of the users who rely on VBA in Office 2004 work in large enterprises with massive cross-platform installations. Selling a 10,000-seat license for the 2010 release of Office is a major incentive for Microsoft to keep those Office 2004 users happy for a bit longer.