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MS Office 365: Why There’s no Way Around The Migration

Does your organization currently use MS Office 365 services such as Exchange Online, but has the Office application not yet migrated to the latest version of Office? Then pay attention! Soon you will have to migrate the Office environment to the latest version, and then preferably on the basis of the Office 365 ProPlus installation.

The Office 365 policy change is coming soon

At this moment it is possible to link an older MS Office version to MS Office 365 services. For example, you can open an MS Exchange Online mailbox without any problems with Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013. But Microsoft does not guarantee the same "user experience" with the latest version of the Office package. So that is changing.

Often an old(er) Office version is used because there are links and dependencies with, for instance the primary case system. That is why the announced policy change has an enormous impact for organizations that are already on MS Exchange Online, but have not yet migrated the Office application.

This policy change means that the Office version must be in mainstream support in order to be able to connect to all services, for example MS Exchange Online.

Mainstream support

MS Office 2016, currently the youngest member of Microsoft’s Office family, was launched in the second half of 2015. A release of 5 years will be supported from this release on. In this mainstream support phase, Microsoft supports the product with feature and security updates.

After these 5 years, mainstream support will expire and only security patches will be released.

For MS Office 2016, mainstream support will expire on October 13, 2020. This is the day on which the policy changes step in and the day all organizations using MS Office 365 services have to be transferred to MS Office 2019.

MS Office 2019

MS Office 2019 was announced in September 2017 at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. This Office version is published as MS Office 365 (rental) and perpetual (purchase) version. At this moment it is not clear whether MS Office 2019 is the latest version that becomes available as a perpetual license.

What is clear so far is that MS Office 2019 is no longer available as an MSI installation. Office 2019 is only released with the “Click to Run” technology, the same technology that is currently available with the MS Office 2016 version of MS Office 365 ProPlus.

Office migration is required

However you turn it, it is clear which way Microsoft is beaten. The further development is mainly in MS Office 365 ProPlus.

First of all, no MSI installation method is made available with the release of MS Office 2019. But more importantly, MS Office 2010, 2013 and MS Office 2016 will be worthless in combination with MS Office 365 in the last quarter of 2020.

Secondly, a migration to MS Office 365 ProPlus means different update mechanisms, I will explain in my upcoming blog article.

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Leipzig, 05 / 24 / 2018


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