Microsoft announces moves to downgrade boxed Office offering

Microsoft recently announced changes to Office 365 ProPlus. The company is aligning the release of Windows 10 feature updates with Office 365 ProPlus updates, making it much easier for IT Pros to deploy new updates. The company also announced another interesting change: customers using the standalone version of Office apps will no longer be able to use Office 365 services in a few years time.

Mainstream support for Office 2016 is set to end on October 13, 2020.  And once the mainstream support for Office 2016 ends, users will be required to have Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual version to connect to Office 365 services. In other words, if you have a standalone version of Office (Office 2010, 2013, 2016), you will no longer be able to connect to Office 365 services after October 2020. As a result, you will no longer be able to use services such as OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business.

Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services. Office 365 ProPlus will deliver the best experience, but for customers who aren’t ready to move to the cloud by 2020, we will also support connections from Office perpetual in mainstream support. We’re providing more than three years’ notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services.

Microsoft is giving companies 3 years time to plan and budget for the upcoming change — which should be more than enough for most companies. It isn’t surprising to see Microsoft pushing companies to switch to the subscription-based version of Office 365, as it makes it much easier for the software giant to release security updates as well as feature releases.

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