I've been away from the Information Technology Business for the last 4 years during this economic downturn and I have recently made the decision to consider easing back in with my skills and experience. I found the latest version of Microsoft Office Version to be "2013".

The last version I heavily used was 2003 and when 2007 had only been out for a couple of years and I completely missed Office 2010.  Good Grief !!!

This "Office 2013" stands out to me because I see it as an attempted "XP-Killer" since it won't run on Windows XP.  Vista users, your operating system is on the "Chopping-Block" too.  Office 2013 requires the operating system to be either be Windows7 or the recently released Windows8 operating systems.

From my developer perspective, I bought a new machine with enough horsepower to run Windows8 and some more horsepower for the development portion.  I paid roughly $1500.00 for a Tower-Computer and roughly $600.00 for a full bells-n-whistles version of Office 2013 Professional and an anti-virus software.

This is where the "Gouge" comes into play.  Information technology departments will need to budget anywhere from an minimum $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 for every user just to keep up. Some upgrades and replacement of existing server hardware and server software will most likely be required too.  I didn't include the labor costs for getting these things in place.  These costs are over and above the existing overhead for phones, internet, networking equipment, etc.

I can easily see "I.T." from most management's point of view as a 4 letter word because I really don't think the general economy has turned around enough to justify all of these new and more expensive bells and whistles.  However, this may be due to an economy that has weakened to the point where more and more internet users are unable to afford the larger laptop or desktop machines and little "touch-screen" handheld devices are all that remain ... then what?.

Also, consider any additional complexity and new security issues if or when something begins to go wrong.  If this happens, it might become more obvious that this upgrade may be more costly than its worth.

Regardless of what's to come, I'm keeping my XP, Office 2003 and MySQL development machine intact for the "just in case" and have an "open mind" for any "less expensive" alternatives.