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Microsof to deliver Office hotfixes as Cumulative Updates

Microsoft Office is moving away from the current weekly hotfix release model to a scheduled delivery model. Under the new model, Office hotfixes are released every two months in the form of Cumulative Updates (CU).

The primary goal is to deliver high quality fixes in a predictable timeframe. Other hotfix teams at Microsoft (SQL Server and Exchange, for instance) have also adopted periodic delivery mechanisms for hotfixes. The first Office cumulative update will release in August, 2008.

With the new model, customers will still be able to request emergency fixes with an accelerated turn-around time. These fixes are termed Critical On-demand hotfixes (COD), to distinguish them from the cumulative updates that are released every two months. Below is some more detail on the new approach.

Cumulative update (CU) features: Hotfixes are released every 2 months.

Available hotfixes include:

  • Fixes for issues that meet Office hotfix acceptance criteria. These criteria include workaround availability, customer impact, reproducibility, the complexity of the code that must be changed, and other considerations. These criteria have not changed.
  • Any critical on-demand hotfixes released to date (see below).
  • Any critical security or non-security updates released publicly to date.

As is currently the case, hotfixes will be released in the form of “packages” that include fixes for customer-identified problems (where a “package” may contain one or more fixes). Customers accepting hotfixes will not be required to install anything more than they install today in order to take advantage of a cumulative update.

Cumulative updates apply to all versions of Office that are currently in mainstream support. (For general information on Microsoft product support, visit the Microsoft Support Lifecycle web site.)

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