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Microsoft Planning to End Support for Standalone Versions of Office by 2020

The future of Microsoft Office is subscriptions. That sums up what the company confirmed recently in a blog post notifying users about its plans to wind down support for standalone versions of Office aka perpetual licenses; which want to connect to its Office 365 cloud services. That means versions such as Office 2010, 2013 and 2016 will no longer be able to access O365 cloud services such as Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online, OneDrive for Business or Skype for Business by October 2020.

The company is not ending development of perpetual versions of the suite, but users will need to move to the latest versions in order to access all of Microsoft’s O365 Cloud services. For example, Office 2016 which was launched in September 2015 will have its mainstream support end in 2020. So, if you don’t cut over to a Microsoft Office subscription by then, it will no longer be supported to connect to Microsoft’s cloud services.

Microsoft Winding Down Support for Perpetual Versions of Office

One of the key benefits of Office 365 versus Office 2016 is the ongoing delivery of new features and functionality. Office 2016 Professional Plus has pretty much stood still since its 2015 release, receiving only security updates. Office 365, on the other hand, has received numerous improvements and features such as improved collaboration, business intelligence enhancements in Excel and Motion Path in PowerPoint. For many users, the standalone suite remains attractive, especially for organizations that need control over access to features in the suite. Here is what Microsoft’s Ron Markezich had to say about the changes ahead.

When customers connect to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, they’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer. The IT benefits—particularly security—are cut short. And the end user experience in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time. To ensure that customers are getting the most out of their Office 365 subscription, we are updating our system requirements.

  • Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support required to connect to Office 365 services. Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services. Office 365 ProPlus will deliver the best experience, but for customers who aren’t ready to move to the cloud by 2020, we will also support connections from Office perpetual in mainstream support.
  • Applies to Office 365 commercial services only. This update does not change our system requirements or support policies for the Office perpetual clients, Office perpetual clients connecting to on-premises servers, or any consumer services.
  • More than three years’ notice. We’re providing more than three years’ notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services. Source

Office 365 repair 9

Users can read further details about the changes at the company’s Tech Community website. Microsoft is slowly nudging users to move to Office 365, which actually offers greater value in the long run by being cheaper up front, plus it’s continually updated with new features and flexible deployment options. Three years is ample notice, especially for versions such as Office 2010, which would have been expected to stop receiving support by 2020.

The dream of Office as a service goes back as far as Office 2003 when Microsoft had originally planned to offer its suite as a subscription, but the market wasn’t ready. Office 365, first launched in 2011 has evolved over the years to become a consistent revenue generator for the software firm. The rest of the industry has followed suit, brands such as AutoDesk, Adobe, and Intuit have also moved their business models to subscriptions.

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17 Responses to Microsoft Planning to End Support for Standalone Versions of Office by 2020

  1. Charles April 26, 2017 at 7:14 am #

    Thanks.

    Charles.

  2. Captain Obvious April 26, 2017 at 7:43 am #

    Sounds like a great plan to sabotage their own home use/ small business sales. Hello universal adoption of open source office suites.

  3. James Oetken April 26, 2017 at 7:52 am #

    It is probably the best for companies and pro users, but I am just a retired old man that only needs the basics of WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, and OUTLOOK. I do not need on going updates of things I will never use. I probably only use 30% of the options in OFFICE, so only need a basic standalone version of these 4.

    I do not use or need anything else and do not fully use all options in these 4, as I am just barely a basic user. Persons like me do not need all the bells and whistles so keep the basic standalone OFFICE for beginners and basic users like me.

    • James Oetken April 30, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

      One more comment. I can keep my current OFFICE for some years, but since it was a down load, and sometime in the future I will need to replace my current computer and will not have a way to install on my new computer. Is there a way to make a copy of the OFFICE I have on my current computer so some day I could install on a replacement computer?

      • carmen April 30, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

        Supposedly, with a product key, you can download Office 2007, Office 2010, and Office for Mac 2011 at
        microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/office

    • JIM May 21, 2017 at 8:07 am #

      APACHE Open Office…. It’s FREE and does just about everything MS Office does and then some. I haven’t used MS Office in years.

  4. Massimo Deportado April 26, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    MS has always been an island unto itself. Hopefully this is the final death knell.

  5. WIddershins April 26, 2017 at 11:13 am #

    ‘Subscription’ is a fancy word for ‘renting’. And guess what, if you don’t pay your rent, you get evicted, and even if you have a contract the landlord can change the terms any time they want without informing you.
    It’s all about the money.

    • James May 21, 2017 at 2:06 am #

      Not the best strategy when there are houses for free (OpenOffice) around you.

  6. Todd April 26, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Microsoft/Windows is a tremendous education for a novice like myself I hope to learn as much as I can with my limited needs. Thank you!

  7. Andre Da Costa April 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm #

    I don’t think it will matter either way whether you get updates for your Office suite or not. Like how hard could it be to save and open an Office file to your OneDrive folder. Also, I have seen users for years remain on unsupported versions of Office. I remember visiting a tailor and they had Windows 95 and Word 6.0 connected to their sewing machine.

    • carmen April 26, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

      Right, and hopefully not :). I used MS Word 2002 up until last year with no issues and I don’t use their cloud services, so I’m hoping there will be no issues with the above change.
      What would be extremely disappointing (and mean) is if they made these old files unreadable when opened using newer versions of Office.

      • Jim April 26, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

        Why not just go to Apache Open Office. I’ve been using Open Office for at least 6 years and it does everything MS Office does, including open MS Office files. Check it out — OpenOffice.org.

  8. dstetz April 30, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    I have Microsoft Office 2007 installed on my desk top and lap top. I will continue to use them, they work just fine, there is no reason to change.

  9. Jerry Hill April 30, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    I agree with dstetz. I have had Office 2007 installed on four of my home computers and two of my office computers for years. I have no use for “The Cloud” (wherever and whatever it is), so that is no issue for me. I also have Apache Open Office installed and have tried all the programs and they all seem to work just as well as Microsoft Office (and they use the same file formats). I will NOT be blackmailed by Microsoft just so they can keep milking me year after year and force me to go to some cloud.

    It also looks like you must connect with some cloud service whenever you connect to the subscription version to make sure you are authorized. How does this work if you are off-line? (Don’t really care though).

  10. Tate Roberts May 25, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    I bought Microsoft Office 2007 Professional while in college for $30, and used it until 2015’ish.

    I then bought Office 2016 Professional for $100.00 via a website and use it daily to this day.

    If I had bought Office 365 in 2015 instead of the stand alone version I would have spent from then to today $238.90.

    I have more than doubled my money savings.

    Some time around 2020 I’ll upgrade to whatever is available then but I sure a shiz will not pay a monthly price for it.

  11. bill is due June 18, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

    kept telling folks but no one ever listens…free cloud and free forever. here it is, the bill come due. not gonna do it. i will go back to pencil and paper before i pay any service to “hold on” to my private files. done use one drive gmail cloud or any of that. free has a price.

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