Microsoft Outlines ‘Simple And Predictible’ Windows 10 Update Plan

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Microsoft details new update strategy along with multiple Office 365 releases

Microsoft has outlined a new update schedule for future installments of Windows 10 and Office 365, with feature releases set to align and come twice a year.

Windows 10 updates will now arrive in March and September each year, with the next release set for September 2017, and each release will be serviced and supported for 18 months.

Upgrade plan

Microsoft says this strategy “adds further clarity and predictability to organisations by aligning with Office 365 ProPlus”, all of which will serve to make future deployments more manageable for enterprises.

Bernardo Caldas, General Manager of Windows Commercial Marketing, cites security as one of the key reasons for Microsoft’s adoption of this twice-yearly strategy, adding that customers wanted “more predictability and simplicity from this update servicing model to help make deployments and updates of Microsoft products easier”.

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He also talks about making “large-scale, costly wipe-and-replace Windows deployments every few years a thing of the past”, which suggests Microsoft is committed to keeping Windows 10 its lead version of Windows for the foreseeable future.

The news comes just a couple of weeks after the release of the Windows 10 Creators Update earlier this month, which added a range of new features including improved privacy controls.

Another major update had already been slated for later this year, which we now know should be set to arrive in September.

Office 365 updates

Microsoft has also released further updates to Office 365 ProPlus in the form of changes to the Office 365 system requirements and new tools and programs to manage ProPlus application compatibility.

From October 13, 2020,  Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services. The update only applies to Office 365 commercial services and does not effect Office perpetual clients.

“When customers connect to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, they’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer,” writes Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for the Office commercial marketing team. “The IT benefits—particularly security—are cut short. And the end user experience in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time.

“We’re providing more than three years’ notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services.”

In terms of application compatibility, Microsoft has announced four new investments: Upgrade assessment tools, application compatibility testing, Office 365 ProPlus monitoring services and reporting, tracking and resolving issues.

These investments will provide tools and services to identify potential upgrade issues, perform compatibility testing of common third-party add-ins, monitor ProPlus deployment across the enterprise and aid with remediation for any issues that may arise.

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