Microsoft Office 2019, the new (last?) perpetual desktop suite.

pexels-photo-212286.jpegIt seems Microsoft is more than ready to cut over and remove all desktop application products, but realizes the world may not be quite ready for this.  You have time to prepare, but don’t hold off too long.

The company seems to be creating these constantly updated, cloud products and stepping back and releasing yet one more desktop client version.  I see this occurring with Skype for Business, Microsoft Office and others.  Although they are ‘spring cleaning‘, as I described in a past post, other products on the mobile side.

Microsoft has already released in preview the new Office suite, tagged Office 2019. It is believed that the office product is driven more off of Office 365 Pro Plus than Office 2016.

With Office 365, being as much of a service as software with a model that follows a predictable schedule of releases, maintenance milestones and support expiration dates – it is estimated that many of the important dates will also be followed in the transition to Office 2019.

 

It will be a different situation for Office 2019 than for Office 2016; the latter was not prefaced by a software-as-a-service model, but by the traditionally-developed Office 2013. So, while Microsoft had to announce earlier this year that after February 2017, Office 2013’s applications would not be supported for Office 365 subscribers, there will be no need for a similar declaration for Office 2016 apps. They will have already aged out of their Office 365 support. – Office 2019 release calendar: Mark these dates, by Senior Reporter, ComputerworldNovember 8, 2017

The perpetual licensed version of Office 2019 will be supported for the usual 10 years, but five years before that, Microsoft will cut off the suite’s applications from connecting to any Microsoft-provided service.

Under the new rules, owners of perpetual-license versions of Office will be able to use those services only during the first half of their 10-year support lifecycle, the portion Microsoft dubs “mainstream.” Currently, those customers may connect to cloud services such as Exchange mailboxes for the full decade of Microsoft’s combined mainstream and “extended” support. – Microsoft to slash cloud-connection rights for stand-alone Officeby Gregg Keizer, Senior Reporter, Computerworld, April 25, 2017.

According to the announcement, Microsoft will enforce this rule starting Oct. 13, 2020, making Office 2019 the first to fall under its mandate. Office 365 ProPlus – the applications from the 2019 suite provided to subscribers – will not be affected by the changes.

Cloud may be king at Microsoft nowadays, with the Office 365 productivity suite taking much more of a leading role in Microsoft’s product development efforts compared to its on-premises or retail “boxed” counterpart, but Microsoft hasn’t thrown in the towel on its old-school Office software yet. At its Ignite conference, Microsoft announced that it was readying the next version of the on-premises Office product, dubbed “Office 2019,” for public release sometime in the second half of 2018. – 2018 Microsoft Roadmap – Office 2019, Red Channel Partner Mag, By Gladys Rama, May 04, 2018

 

The Office 2019 productivity suite includes Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio and OneNote client applications, although Microsoft noted earlier that OneNote will be distributed as the Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform app, not as the desktop version, which Microsoft plans to stop developing. An Office 2019 on Mac commercial preview also will be released soon.

Office 2019 is the “perpetual-license” version of Microsoft’s productivity suite, which means it will be a onetime purchase and it won’t get future major feature updates like Microsoft’s’ Office 365 ProPlus product. Office 365 ProPlus, in contrast, is an annual subscription-based, cloud services-connected productivity suite that gets major feature updates twice per year. – Microsoft Releases Office 2019 Commercial Preview, By Kurt Mackie, Red Channel Partner Mag, April 30, 2018

Microsoft has noted that organizations wanting to tap into Microsoft’s “intelligent security features” should go with Office 365 ProPlus, not any of the perpetual licensed products, because perpetual-license versions of Office lack cloud connections.

Installation of Office 2019 will be a little different for IT pros as Microsoft isn’t providing .MSI installation files for the clients, although it will provide them for Microsoft Office Server products, the FAQ explained. Instead, organizations are expected to use Microsoft’s Click-to-Run technology, which streams the bits onto desktops. It’ll stream the monthly security and quality updates, too. The Click-to-Run technology also supports the performing of in-place upgrades from “older MSI-based products,” according to an announcement by Jared Spataro, general manager for Office. – Microsoft Releases Office 2019 Commercial Preview, By Kurt Mackie, Red Channel Partner Mag, April 30, 2018

Unlike previous perpetual-license Office products, Office 2019, when commercially released, will have a truncated support model. Organizations are typically used to getting five years of “mainstream support” plus five years of “extended support” in a so-called “5 + 5” support model. However, Office 2019 will have a “5 + 2” support model. Because older software is difficult to secure, it is inherently less productive. As the pace of change speeds up, it is more imperative than ever to move our software to a more modern cadence. By adopting a model of 5+2 years of support, Office 2019 will help reduce this exposure

 

It seems Microsoft is steadying their release, support programs in a way to make it a simpler catalog to follow for all of us.  As a member of a developer, it is difficult to continue supporting older versions of your product, specifically when it comes to security.  I also appreciate Microsoft’s willingness to slow down a little and still release a few ‘old school’ product platforms while we all get our heads around cloud, automatic updates, etc.

 

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