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No Win10 Means No Office 2019

There’s an interesting development on the Windows landscape. It’s also perhaps a “killer reason” for Win10 upgrades. Here ’tis: MS has confirmed that Office 2019 will only be available on devices running Windows 10. Ouch! Those using older Windows versions can’t upgrade. This info appears in a blog post innocuously entitled “Changes to Office and Windows servicing and support.”

Now here’s a blog post that punches way beyond its title’s apparent significance.

Here’s how MS dropped this bomb , and delivered its “No Win10 means no Office 2019” message:

Effective January 14, 2020, [Office 365] ProPlus will no longer be supported on the following versions of Windows. This will ensure that both Office and Windows receive regular, coordinated updates to provide the most secure environment with the latest capabilities.

  • Any Windows 10 LTSC release
  • Windows Server 2016 and older
  • Windows 8.1 and older

That leaves only Windows 10 standing. Not even the oldest versions, witnessed by exclusion of the LTSB, now known as the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) is included. All I can say in response is “Wow!”

If No Win10 Means No Office 2019, Then What?

Obviously, this means that companies that want to stick with Office 365 or standalone installs are going to have to upgrade their PCs to Windows 10. According to the afore-linked blog post, the next Office release will ship in H2 2019, with previews of the new apps and  servers (which include Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business) appearing sometime in Q2 2018. Furthermore, here’s the second salvo in MS’s bombing run (emphasis mine):

The Office 2019 client apps will be released with Click-to-Run installation technology only. We will not provide MSI as a deployment methodology for Office 2019 clients. We will continue to provide MSI for Office Server products.

Again: “Wow!” Things are changing big-time in the world of MS software and subscriptions. Methinks the vision of “Windows/Apps as a service” takes another giant leap forward, too. My Win10.guru partner, Kari the Finn, insists that MS will steer its customers of all scales and sizes to Azure AD as well. That makes for a Windows/Office/Azure AD trifecta which, coupled with AutoPilot and InTune, recasts the MS landscapre entirely. I  agree. All this stuff lines up far too nicely to be a simple coincidence.

Life in the MS world has just gotten a lot more interesting. Just how interesting remains to be seen. Stay tuned!

PS: Make of this recent MS announcement naming former MS public face of  “Windows as a Service” Michael Niehaus to principal program manager on the “modern deployment team” what you like. Notice his emphasis on InTune and AutoPilot in the article. I think it simply proves my point, don’t you?

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Will older versions of Office (or Textpad, notepad, wordpad, MS Work) run on Windows 10? One does not need the latest version of Office to get work done. Is this a security issue requiring them to be in sync or a marketing ploy? Non corporate or retired and really actually smart Individual users can always get a typewriter, paper, stamp, and envelope.
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Wow, so people using O365 ProPlus on Windows Server 2012R2 or Server 2016 are going to have to upgrade to Server 2020?

Surely not????
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MS running over the top of us small time users is going to kick back in their face ...I hope!! this sounds really sucky!!
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I'm using Office 2010 on a Win10 machine. No need for me to upgrade to any other version of Office. I can't see the reason for another expense when I can do my day to day job with what I currently have.
If it's an issue for some there is always Open Office..
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I currently use Office 2010 on a Win 10 machine. I can do my day to day job just fine. I don't see the need for any additional expense to upgrade and for what benefits? I'm most likely not going to use them anyways. For those other there is always Open Office... Not as flashy but works for me on may home machine where I basically use the Word and Excel equivalent. 
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Older versions of Office do work on Windows 10, and indeed open-source (Libre Office, Open Office) and web-based productivity stuff (Google Docs) work on Windows 10 as well. Methinks the real import of this announcement is aimed at volume license buyers and businesses that already have (or are ready to acquire) Microsoft 365/Office 365 subscriptions. That is the audience facing a "forced march" to Office 10, to retain access to the Office components they've already adopted and are presently using. Such is MS's apparent plan. Don't know how it's all going to play out just yet, but Microsoft's intent seems pretty clear to me.

--Ed--

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Forcing an OS upgrade may turn some people off. One reason that comes to mind is their current applications that they have written. These custom programs may need to be reviewed to see if anything has been deemed obsolete by the great and powerful MS forcing the upgrade. 
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Todd: you are correct. But I have to believe that MS is provided advance notice to help organizations that are willing to make the march get ready for the migration. I don't see it as "good or evil" but a calculated move by MS to try to reduce the number of versions and OSes it needs to support. It also shows (IMO, anyway) that they are confident enough about the income stream from Azure and cloud stuff that they're willing to gamble a bit on the former crown jewels of Windows and Office.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks for your comments.

--Ed--

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Thanks for this info, Ed. Not surprised by this Microsoft stunt. It seems that they'll do anything to get people on Win10. Crazy.
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I've seen a lot of changes with Microsoft over the yeasr, a lot, going back to Window for workgroups 3.1 I think was my first real OS. Granted I know if you want all the latest bells and whistles they provide you will need to upgrade. It's like buying a new car. You want backup camera or lane departure warning or auto braking you need a new car. They are to hard if not impossible to retro fit into older models. The same with software. If you want the best protection and performance you need fresh new optimized code. That code most likely cannot run on older platforms. To even further the point does Microsoft want to keep supporting both 32 as well as 64 bit systems.No. Granted I have a bunch of OS I run at home 2 desktops with Win98 to laptops on Win7 and 1 on Win10 64 bit machine. Most lack security, that is why all but the WIn10 machine is not on the net.  I take them for what they are and how they perform for my needs.
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Thinking about this some more, there could be a silver lining in terms of security. Newer OSs presumably equal more secure endpoints. And, as Todd alluded to - custom software might just have to be upgraded and, based on what I see, brought into the 21st century. I'm sure many vendors will push back. I wrote about that software vendor resistance here - it's really common. Regardless, if this forced Win10 upgrade is followed by the masses, it'll likely benefit everyone involved over the long term.
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