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There are big changes coming to MS Office which you need to be aware of, given how widely used “Office” is in most companies.

First, the headline change:  When MS Office 2019 is released, it will only run on Windows 10.  If you’ve still got machines on older operating systems, and you want to keep your productivity suite up to date, then you’ll need to upgrade those older systems.

Also, be aware that when Office 2019 ships, it will only have “Click-to-Run” technology.  No MSI, although Office Server will have an MSI deployment option.

In terms of software support, the company had this to say:

“Office 2019 will provide five years of mainstream support and approximately two years of extended support.  This is an exception to our ‘Fixed Lifecycle Policy’ to align with the support period for Office 2016.  Extended support will end 10/14/2025.”

The Office 2019 bundle will include the following apps:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Outlook
  • Skype for Business

Additionally, server versions of SharePoint and Exchange will be available.

In conjunction with the announcement above, the company also announced service extensions for Windows 10, and changes to the system requirements for people who use Office 365 ProPlus, the company’s online office suite.

Beginning on January 14, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus will no longer be supported on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2016, or any Windows 10 LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) release.  Windows 10 support (versions 1511, 1607, 1703, and 1709) will get an additional six months of support for both enterprise and education customers.

Although these changes will no doubt inconvenience some users, overall, they have to be judged as a positive.  Microsoft has been taking a number of meaningful steps in recent years to streamline and simplify their product support, and these latest changes are very much in keeping with that.