It's no secret that the future of IT is cloud-based subscription services and Microsoft has announced some serious changes coming in 2020. Beginning October 13, 2020, in order to connect to Office 365 you will need to be on Office 365 ProPlus or have upgraded to Office 2019.
Who this effects
Office 365 users currently utilizing Office 2016 perpetual licenses or older.
Having Office 365 ProPlus or an Office perpetual license in mainstream support (the first 5 years of the product lifecycle) will be required to connect to Office 365 services effective October 13, 2020.
A perpetual license of Office refers to the installation of Office on a single PC. Like Office 2013 or 2016. They are known as 'perpetual' because you pay once and technically can use that license forever on that single PC.
Office 365 ProPlus is the cloud subscription equivalent to Office 2016. ProPlus provides semi-annual feature updates, traditional desktop Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) and some Office 365 apps but does not include other cloud services like Skype for Business or SharePoint.
You can still use Office 2016 to connect to Office 365 services until its end of mainstream support on October 13, 2020. To connect after that date, you will need to have purchased the newer version of Office perpetual (Office 2019 scheduled to be released in the second half of 2018 ) or Office 365 ProPlus to continue connecting to Office 365 cloud services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business clients.
Will I still be able to use legacy versions of Office?
Microsoft has made it pretty clear in this Tech Community post and their systems requirements that if you're still utilizing a legacy Office perpetual license then Office desktop applications, such as Outlook, OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business clients will not connect to Office 365 services after October 13, 2020.
Office 365 is designed to work with the latest browsers and versions of Office. If you use older versions of Office then the IT security and end user experiences in the apps are limited to the features shipped at a point in time.
It's also important to bring up that effective January 14, 2020 ProPlus will no longer be supported on the following versions of Windows:
- Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, and 2016
- Windows 8.1, Windows 7 or older
- Any Windows 10 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC/LTSB) release
What will happen on October 13, 2020?
- Users on Outlook clients 2010, 2013, or 2016 will no longer be able to access email or calendar data from Exchange Online
- Users on Office clients 2010, 2013, or 2016 will no longer be able to access, edit, save, or collaborate on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote documents on SharePoint Online
- Users on Office clients 2010, 2013, or 2016 Office desktop client applications, such as Outlook, OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business clients will not connect to Office 365 services
- Subscription users as well as users on Office PC/Mac 2019 perpetual won't experience any change
- Non-Office 365 users on previous Office clients only using on-premises services won't experience any change
If you're learning about the Office 365 compatibility changes for the first time then your mind may be swirling. But don't worry, there's help.