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Microsoft Announces New Office 365 Requirements and Updates

Brian Podolsky

2 min read

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Can’t say they didn’t warn us.

As you may have read in ILTA forums or online already, the Microsoft Office team published new details about their update model and future requirements for the Office 365 ProPlus platform.  Full details are available on the Office Blog site, but the major takeaways are highlighted below:

Upcoming Client Requirements

Starting on October 13, 2020, only Office 365 or current version of Office perpetual will be allowed to connect to Office 365 services. That means if you are still running Office 2016, Office 2013 (or, dare I even mention it — Office 2010) on October 14, 2020, say goodbye to your connectivity to your Office 365 hosted email and documents.  This 3 year window does give firms and IT managers plenty of time to plan and budget for this change, and fall into the new Windows 10 / Office 365 paradigm of staying current.

New Release & Support Schedule

Starting later this year, Microsoft will release two Office 365 updates per year, as opposed to three. Updates will be targeted for March and September releases, to coincide with the Windows 10 update model. In addition, the period of time between initial Office 365 update release and the forced upgrade will be increased from 12 months to 18 months.

New Tools and Procedures

Finally, Microsoft will provide new utilities that firms can use to catalogue their Office add-ins and help identify any potential issues that may be encountered when updating to a new release of Office 365.  In addition, thorough compatibility testing will be performed against common third-party Office 365 add-ins. My understanding is that NetDocuments will be included in this testing procedure, so as to ease concerns for those firms utilizing the NetDocuments cloud service.

We’ve known for a few years now that Microsoft wants its customer base to embrace the subscription model. This is solidifying that effort to ensure that all Microsoft customers run up-to-date and secure versions of their software.