The Latest in Microsoft Licensing Announcements

Breaking Down Office and Windows Servicing and Support Changes

Sreeraj Vasukuttan
Sreeraj Vasukuttan
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On February 1, 2018, Microsoft made an announcement they called “Changes to Office and Windows Servicing and Support.” It was all over the Microsoft news world, and we promptly communicated it to our customers through our internal news services. In case you missed the announcement, we’ve got you covered. I’ll go through the announcements from each product area, and we’ll present a mock conversation between Customer X and our licensing expert, Brendan Randall, to help you understand what these changes mean for your organization. Let’s get started!

Windows 10: Microsoft will provide six more months of support for the Enterprise and Education versions of their last three Windows 10 updates (1607, 1703, and 1709). Previously, the same six-month extension was allowed for the Windows 10 1511 version as well. The Standard Support for Windows 10 updates is 18 months. Microsoft thinks that the six-month extension will help the businesses who need a little more time to move from one version to another. Note that this extension is only for Windows 10 in Enterprise and Education. Microsoft also announced that the next LTSC of Windows 10 Enterprise will be available in the fall of 2018.

Customer X: How is the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) release of Windows 10 Enterprise different than the Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC?

Brendan Randall: The SAC release of Windows 10 is done twice a year. Each release will bring new features and additions to the operating system to enhance the OS further. Each SAC release is supported for an 18-month period upon its release. Once the 18-month period expires, that SAC release is no longer supported and will no longer receive security updates.

The LTSC edition is more of a static/predictable operating system for an extended period. Instead of being subject to the new editions/releases of the OS every few months, this LTSC edition allows users to commit to a single, unaltered edition of Windows 10 for an extended period (five years) while still receiving security updates.

Office 365 Pro Plus: As far as Office customers are concerned, Microsoft will no longer support Office 365 ProPlus on Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016 and older, and any Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), as of January 14, 2020.

Customer X: What does this mean to me if I am running Office 365 on the above mentioned operating systems? What actions should I take prior to the cutoff date from a licensing point of view?

Brendan: If you’re currently using Office 365 ProPlus, you will not be able to utilize it on operating systems above. Once Office 365 ProPlus 2019 is released, there will be an 18-month adoption period where existing Office 365 ProPlus 2016 users will have to move to 2019. Once that adoption period ends, the 2016 edition will no longer be available in Office 365.

We recommend that you look to adopt the newer releases of the operating systems before the January 14, 2020 date to ensure they are supported. We can assist you with assessing your environment to understand how this support change will affect your organization.

If you are currently on any LTSC release of Windows 10 and do not have Software Assurance, you will have to purchase a new operating system license.

If you are currently on Windows 8.1 or older, you will need to upgrade to Windows 10 if you are planning to use Office 365 Pro Plus 2019.

Office 2019: The next perpetual version of Office, Office 2019, will ship in H2 of 2018. Office 2019 apps will be supported on any supported Windows 10 SAC release, Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018, and the next LTSC release of Windows Server. The Office 2019 client apps will be released with Click to Run installation technology only. Microsoft will not provide MSI as a deployment methodology for Office 2019 clients.

Customer X: Why does dropping MSI on Office 2019 and moving to Click to Run make sense?

Brendan: Microsoft currently offers two ways of installing its Client Applications. For perpetual-licensed products, it’s been the MSI deployment method. For the Office 365 products, it’s always been the Click to Run deployment method. There has been a really large issue for the past few years because the install methods do not work together. This means that if you own any perpetual licenses for Office Applications—or even for Visio or Project—they cannot be run on the same system that you intend to run Office 365 Click to Run installations on. You need to standardize your install method across the board for all of your products.

So that’s a wrap on Microsoft’s big news! We hope we were able to provide some clarity for you. Please reach out to us if you have any Microsoft-related questions. We’re happy to speak with you to help with your Microsoft needs and the ongoing digital transformation. For more of Brendan Randall’s insights, you can follow him on our Connected community.

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Sreeraj Vasukuttan

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Product Marketing Coordinator for Connection’s Microsoft Center of Excellence. He enjoys reading, especially essays on science, technology, philosophy, human social behavior, and how the mind works. In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, kayak, and walk in the woods.

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