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User/Owner not always available via external Id ... why not?

I was wondering if someone could answer this question:
When upserting an object that has a lookup-field to a User, one can match this User with an external Id field (which of course one should define on the User object). However, when upserting an object where the User object is only referenced as an Owner of this object, only an actual OwnerId (User Id) is accepted, one cannot use the external Id to match the Owner..... Why not?
(FYI: I ran into this when upserting using the Dataloader)

Message Edited by Harmpie on 08-21-2008 06:15 AM