If you’re not on a subscription for your Office desktop applications, you may lose access to your email box and other services. Why? Because Microsoft announced that, effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 services (like OneDrive, Hosted Exchange and more) will only support client connectivity from subscription clients or perpetual clients with mainstream support.
Basically this means that Office 2013 is about to be no fun any more.
You won’t be able to use Office 2013 Outlook to connect to your Microsoft-hosted Exchange mailbox, and your Word and Excel won’t connect to OneDrive. If you are with a hosting provider who supplies your Office licenses as part of the service, cross your fingers and hope that it isn’t Office 2013. It will be pretty frustrating if your Outlook suddenly has problems accessing your Microsoft-hosted mailbox.
Like many other products, a lot of the functionality in the desktop software has been turned into web service and the Microsoft Office applications are a great example. With cloud connectivity being the focus, desktop solutions are more frequently leveraging online resources to extend and expand their capabilities. This also means they’re more frequently turning from one-time software purchases to subscription service.
After October, Microsoft’s ongoing investments in the Office 365 cloud services – including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business – will be made based on “post-Office 2013 requirements”. Now is the time to migrate your Office 2013 to Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365 ProPlus). We highly recommend this move anyway, so businesses can take advantage of using their Office applications seamlessly on Azure servers as well as their local PC desktops and mobile devices.
Users of Office 2016 and Office 2019 have a little more time before their software no longer supports the cloud services. That end date is currently October 2023. You can find the support lifecycle site for Office mainstream support dates here.
It isn’t that Microsoft plans to actively block older Office clients from connecting to Office 365 services. It’s just that older applications may have performance or reliability issues when they try to connect to the constantly-updated cloud services. Increased security risks are certain and users may even find that they are no longer compliant with certain requirements. The big thing is that Microsoft support will likely not be able to resolve issues related to unsupported connections.
The days of buying software once and running it forever are just about over.
Developers have recognized that cloud services can expand and enhance their solutions in ways that static local installation can’t. For many businesses, it becomes easier and ultimately more efficient to migrate to subscription service for IT platform and software. Azure cloud servers, for example, allow businesses to always have modern infrastructure that is more fault tolerant and agile than on-premises hardware.
Combing these benefits with software that is cloud-connected and always up to date means the business never faces lost productivity or revenues due to outdated systems or lost compatibility with newer solutions.