Q. I have Microsoft Office 2000, and I haven't seen a need to upgrade—at least, not yet! Can I purchase Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 independently, and will it work seamlessly with Office 2000? And is Business Contact Manager for Outlook included with Outlook 2003, or is it an add-on that must be purchased and installed?

A. Yes, you can purchase Outlook 2003 separately and use it in conjunction with Office 2000. This integration isn't perfect, however. I used that scenario at a 100-user enterprise in 2003 and ran into compatibility issues when users tried to set Microsoft Word as their email editor. We were fine when everyone was set to HTML or Plain Text, as long as Word wasn't selected.

Business Contact Manager is an add-on, but you don't need to buy it. You can download the Business Contact Manager Update for Outlook 2003 here. Note that the download employs Microsoft's validation utility.
—William Lefkovics