Apparently, Microsoft has backtracked on its initial plans to discontinue some generations of its Office software.
The company had initially planned to end support for Office 2016 and Office 2019 starting in October 2023, with users unable to use the software to connect to Microsoft 365 services, including Exchange Online.
However, new research from experts now seems to suggest that there is much more to it than initially thought, with some important caveats that may continue to alarm Microsoft Office users.
confusion in office
The news was reported by ZDNet (opens in a new tab)which sought to clear up some confusion about the lifespan of Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 2019.
Back in July 2022, Microsoft revealed its plans to sever the connections between the software and Microsoft 365 – but now it seems that this just means that the company will actually just not support these connections in case of any issues or problems, such as malware or insecure software.
Users won’t stop connecting to Microsoft 365 if they have the old software, but the company warns that they may encounter “unexpected problems” if they try to do so.
It also now appears that the October 2023 deadline only applies to Office 2019. The software should lose all mainstream support at that point, which means Microsoft will no longer be adding new features, patches, or security support.
But this lack of support will also mean connecting to Microsoft 365 will be problematic, as the company seeks to minimize the risk of any network-based cyberattacks spreading via then-outdated software.
All of this essentially means that while users will still be able to use their old versions of Office, they might have trouble connecting to Microsoft 365.
“In practice, this means that as we make updates to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft 365 services, we won’t build around the limitations inherent in older Office perpetual customers that are no longer in mainstream support,” Microsoft told ZDNet. “Customers won’t see their connection blocked, but they may not get the full value of new investments in our cloud services. Over time, they may run into unexpected problems.’
Office 2016 has already run out of support, which ended in October 2020, so they are already covered by Microsoft’s apparent refusal to help connect to Microsoft 365 or other services, something that it did not mention in the previous communication.
The move appears to be another part of Microsoft’s plans to get users to update to the latest versions of its software as soon as possible. The company has been trying to encourage the upgrade to Windows 11 for some time, although the latest figures from AdDuplex show that Windows 11 only runs on 23.1% of computers.