The end of the road for Microsoft’s OneNote Desktop?

onenoteOneNote 2016 desktop product will be the last of its kind, according to Microsoft.  The company is planning to stop building its OneNote desktop application and is putting its development efforts behind the OneNote App for Windows 10 going forward. The desktop version will receive updates and security patches until Oct. 14, 2025.  Which is a long time away, but the message is becoming clear.  Microsoft is all in with Office 365 and OneDrive.

The switchover will take place when Microsoft releases Office 2019, its next perpetual-license Office product, scheduled for late in 2018.

New Office 365 users will already start to use the OneNote App for Windows 10 by default.  If you have already installed OneNote 2016, you can keep using it, without any negative effect.  If you have not used it then it’ll disappear on a future Office 365 update. It’ll also disappear under that circumstance when Office 2019 gets installed.

The OneNote App for Windows 10 is supported by Microsoft, along with its other suite of products, it’s frequently updated with new features.

Microsoft freely admits that the OneNote App for Windows 10 still lacks some features that are currently available in the OneNote 2016 desktop application. Microsoft is adding some of them, but it urged users to give feedback on any missing features that are important for them to see in the updated OneNote App for Windows 10. – Microsoft Signals the End for OneNote Desktop Application, By Kurt Mackie, Redmond Magazine, 04/19/2018

The largest issue is the lack of ability to save files locally (offline). Microsoft has often stated that offline storage, is just not on the roadmap. OneDrive is Microsoft’s public cloud-based storage service and will remain the focal storage point for all products. These files also are locally cached, which permits offline access to them.  And according to Microsoft, they understand you may then see out other products and they publicly state they are okay with that. So if you have governance requirements, better get in from of this now.

I have found a handful of integrations, such as creating Outlook tasks missing in the Windows 10 version of OneNote.  I assume there will be a long line of catch up releases then will carry the product forward as the better product.  The transition may be difficult and open up the opportunity to for rival products to gain a few new transitional customers.

Do you use OneNote? I have had problems really depending on it, as think I should.  Although information governance is a priority, As an IT professional, my notes and files never cross into those areas, like it did for the attorneys I worked for, etc.  I love how I can move around on different platforms and keep using the same files, etc. But I still don’t have it as my top2 or 3 app to use.  Oddly, mostly due to my age, Excel, Notepad and Word still dominate those positions behind the browser and Outlook.

What are your thoughts on this move by Microsoft? The entire transition we are seeing with  Office 365?  I be starting a series soon on office 365, covering areas such as, setting up the tenant, groups and security, Azure AD sync, using those apps provided and administration.

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