COMPAREX

MS Office 2019
Major Changes

Microsoft Office 2019 News: Available for Windows 10 Only

Microsoft kicked off February with some major announcements, for instance that Office 2019 will only be available for Windows 10. But the sweeping changes will not just apply to Office 2019, rather will also affect Windows 10 and Office 365, as Microsoft is also extending the support period for current Windows 10 versions from 18 to 24 months. In this article, Thino Ullmann will summarize the most important changes.

Office 2019 announcement

There’s bad news for companies that do not plan to roll out Windows 10 any time in the foreseeable future, as Microsoft announced just recently that the next iteration of Office 2019 will not support any legacy versions preceding Windows 10. It is currently not possible to tell whether the new Office suite will run on older Windows versions. But it is extremely unlikely that Microsoft will offer support.

What’s more, Microsoft is reducing the support period from ten to seven years, so the end of support for Office 2019 will be October 14, 2025. But this will not affect the five-year mainstream support, and only the extended support (security patches) will be cut from five years to “around” two years.

The purchasing model will remain unchanged, so – unlike Office 365 ProPlus – the standalone version will not require a subscription. Only the installation method will be modified: The Office suite can be installed by click-to-run, and there will no longer be any MSI packages for this version.

An initial preview version of Office 2019 is penciled in for the second quarter of this year.

Office 365 ProPlus announcement

Another of the announced changes refers to the cloud-based product Office 365 ProPlus. In future, this version will not run on Windows 10 systems for which Microsoft has stopped providing updates. From January 14, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus will not run, i.e. will not be supported, on Windows 10 versions with a long-term servicing channel (LTSC). Source

“Effective January 14, 2020, ProPlus will no longer be supported on the following versions of Windows. This will ensure that both Office and Windows receive regular, coordinated updates to provide the most secure environment with the latest capabilities.

  • Any Windows 10 LTSC release
  • Windows Server 2016 and older
  • Windows 8.1 and older”

Office 365 – deadline day is October 13, 2020

October 13 is an important deadline day for all companies that deploy their Office version to access Office 365 services as on-premises (standalone) versions, and not as part of Office 365 ProPlus. The changes that apply from this date will include that Office versions with expired mainstream support will no longer be able to access online services (Skype for Business Online, SharePoint Online, Teams, OneDrive etc.). This applies to the Office versions 2016 and earlier. The Microsoft announcement  of April 20, 2017, contains all the other details.

Windows 10 support extension

Some Microsoft customers – among them Independence Blue Cross, MARS and Accenture – have requested an extension of the Windows 10 support period. Microsoft has now responded. As things stand, this six-month extension applies to the Windows 10 versions 1607, 1703 and 1709, whose support period will be prolonged from 18 to 24 months. At the moment, it is unknown whether this extension will also apply to future versions.

Release
Release Date
End of Support
End of Additional Servicing for Enterprise, Education
Windows 10, version 1511November 10, 2015October 10, 2017April 10, 2018
Windows 10, version 1607August 2, 2016April 10, 2018October 9, 2018
Windows 10, version 1703April 5, 2017October 9, 2018April 9, 2019
Windows 10, version 1709October 17, 2017April 9, 2019October 8, 2019

The next Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version is scheduled for this fall. The support period for this version will remain unchanged, so there will be five years of mainstream support, plus an additional five years of extended support.

Paid Extended Support

The recent announcement indicates that there are plans to provide paid support for the Windows 10 versions Enterprise/Education once they come to the end of their support, applicable from Windows 10 (1607). But Microsoft did not provide any more detailed information. We will keep you updatet on this matter. If you have any questions please contact us.

Alternatives

The pertinent question in regard to these announcements is how should companies that are unable to satisfy these requirements handle the changes? I believe that a terminal-server solution is the best option – based on Microsoft Terminal Server technologies, Citrix or VMware.

For instance, these organizations can use a thin client instead of Windows 10 as a desktop version. The actual Office package is then made available via the terminal server farm. Nevertheless, it is crucial to consider workstations that are unable to maintain a constant connection to this farm (?). Sales reps are a perfect example: As soon as they are unable to establish a VPN connection to the terminal server farm (e.g. if they are in a “not spot”), they will also have no way of working on the Office version deployed on the terminal server.

A two-pronged approach might therefore be conceivable: Clients with Windows 10 and the matching Office version for sales reps and similar user groups, while all other employees would use the terminal server environment.

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Leipzig, 02/13/2018

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