Microsoft recently announced the Commercial Preview of Office 2019, which is expected to ship towards the end of 2018.
A few significant revelations I took away from the preview:
- Office 2019 will only be available as a click-to-run application. Going forward, the MSI deployment download will no longer be used with Office.
- Office 2019 requires a supported Windows 10 channel or the next long-term service channel of Windows Server. Earlier versions of Windows will not be supported.
- Office 2019 will have the typical five years of mainstream support, but only two years of extended support (down from five).
Reviewing the new features announced, I realized that they are all already included in Office ProPlus, the Click-to-Run version of Office included in Office 365. This means that at the end of the year, our clients who are still using volume-licensed Office will start planning Office migrations. But firms who are using Office ProPlus, such as Kraft Kennedy itself, will have already deployed these features via the Office channel paradigm.
What does this mean for the future of Office? Beyond the release of Office 2019, Microsoft has indicated nothing publicly, but we can reasonably guess that this will be the last version of Office with a year in the title. It probably makes sense for Microsoft to deliver updates to the volume-license version along the same cadence as Office 365 updates. This transition could happen starting in 2020. Microsoft has committed to support the shipping version for five years, so even if it does alter Office’s update cycle, volume-license customers will have a longer support option available.
Stay tuned for more analysis of Office 2019 and the future of Microsoft products.