Some businesses that have purchased perpetual licences to Microsoft Office will no longer be able to use the software to connect to the business versions of Outlook, OneDrive and Skype beginning in 2020, Microsoft has said.
Beginning on 13 October, 2020, Microsoft said it will only allow versions of Office that are in mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services including Outlook, OneDrive and Skype.
The change affects businesses using desktop-based versions of Office including Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, with mainstream support for Office 2016 ending on the day that the new support policy comes into effect.
The move means businesses that have been accessing the services involved via a stand-alone Office licence will need to put other measures into place by the cut-off date, such as purchasing a version of Office that’s in mainstream support or purchasing an Office 365 business subscription.
The company said it made the change in order to ensure that those using Office 365 have access to the most up-to-date security and user-interface features.
The change doesn’t affect Outlook, OneDrive or Skype accounts set up by individuals, and web or mobile applications are similarly unaffected, Microsoft said.
Along with the system requirements change Microsoft announced a new schedule for Office 365 updates, moving from three to two times a year.
Microsoft is now to deliver new Office 365 features in March and September, timed to correspond to Windows 10 updates.
The move is Microsoft’s latest effort to push users toward paying for ongoing Office 365 subscriptions rather than buying one-off perpetual licences.
As well as the regular delivery of new features, Office 365 includes access to cloud services such as hosted versions of Exchange or Skype servers and web-based versions of Office productivity applications.
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