Significant Changes For Microsoft Office Are On The Way

Significant Changes For Microsoft Office Are On The Way

Significant changes for Microsoft Office – a “staple” technology in most businesses – are on the way! Although Microsoft announced these changes previously, many professionals remain unaware of them. Further, many have not yet prepared to manage through these changes to minimize disruption. In this article, you will learn about the coming changes for Office. Moreover, you will also learn what you should do now to prepare for them.

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Technical Support Is Ending Soon For Some Versions Of Microsoft Office

Microsoft announced in December 2019 that Office 2016 for Mac and Office 2010 reach their end of support on October 13, 2020. After that date, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, bug fixes, or security updates for either of these products. The applications will continue to operate as they do presently. However, over time you might experience performance, reliability, or security issues with these applications.

The obvious action item related to this issue is to make plans now to upgrade to a newer version of Office, including one provided through an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription. Under the subscription models, you can avoid substantial cash outlays to upgrade licenses throughout your organization. Additionally, subscription models help you to avoid the risk of obsolescence and lack of technical support. In addition to considering an Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscription, you may also want to take a look at Zoho One and G Suite. Both these offerings compete with the Office franchise available from Microsoft. Further, they offer some unique characteristics and options that might make them a more attractive option in some cases.

Only Supported Versions Of Microsoft Office Will Be Supported When Connecting To Office 365 Services

Many professionals use Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Excel, and Word to connect to various Office 365 services. Examples of these services include OneDrive for Business, Exchange Online, and SharePoint Online. In some of these cases, traditional, perpetual licenses of Office applications connect to Office 365 services. After October 13, you will need to be running Office provided through an Office 365/Microsoft 365 subscription, Office 2019, or Office 2016 to connect to Office 365 services. If you are running older versions of Office applications and connect to Office 365 services, no technical support will be available from Microsoft.

Does This Change Mean You Won't Be Able To Access Your Email Using Older Versions Of Outlook?

No, but there will be no technical support available if you are trying to connect older versions of Office applications – including Outlook – to Office 365 services, such as Exchange Online. More broadly, Microsoft stated in a recent email message to some customers:

If your organization is running any Office client older than Office 2016, Microsoft will not take any active measures to block them from connecting to Office 365 services. However, legacy clients attempting to connect to a modern, always-up-to-date cloud service may experience performance and reliability issues. Customers will face an increased security risk, and may find themselves out of compliance depending on specific regional or industry requirements. Microsoft Help may not be able to resolve issues that arise due to unsupported service connections.

To see a complete view of the support lifecycles for various Microsoft Office versions and Office 365 services, click here.


The world of software licensing and support continues to get more complicated in some respects and, arguably, simpler in others. With numerous versions of Office still in use today across multiple operating systems, it can be challenging for software publishers to find the right approach to supporting legacy versions of their applications. Further, end-users need to know that their software is not going to simply stop working because of a hasty announcement from their software publisher. Fortunately, more users moving subscription models should help to ease these conflicts. However, in the meantime, please make sure you pay attention to announcements such as the ones discussed above to ensure you don’t encounter any service interruptions.


To learn more about Office 365, consider participating in K2’s Microsoft Office 365 – All The Things You Need To Know.