- Aug 17, 2014
Although Microsoft actively pushes its cloud-powered Microsoft 365 offerings for Office applications, it still releases perpetual versions of Office every few years, too. The difference between them is that Microsoft 365 customers have to continually make payments to retain access to the services on offer, while those who purchase a perpetual version of Office like Office 2016 and Office 2019 only make a one-time payment. The drawback is that the versions of Office that they receive are feature-locked and only supported for a fixed time frame.
Recently, many Office 2016 and 2019 customers received a bit of a shock when several pieces of Microsoft documentation implied that they would immediately lose access to Microsoft 365 backend services come October 2023. This was very alarming because both versions of Office are under extended support until October 14, 2025.
Microsoft has now confirmed that it isn't cutting off access to Microsoft 365 services after all. Instead, they may face reliability issues. In a statement to ZDNet, Microsoft clarified that:
Microsoft will NOT be blocking supported and up-to-date Office clients from connecting to M365 cloud services. However, as announced in April 2017 and clarified in February 2018, Microsoft plans to stop supporting Office clients out of mainstream support when connecting to Microsoft 365 cloud services.
Practically, this means that as we make updates to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft 365 services, we will not be building around the constraints inherent in the older perpetual Office clients that are already out of mainstream support. Customers will not be blocked in connecting, but they may not get the full value out of new investments in our cloud services. Over time, they may run into unexpected issues. "
Several Microsoft documents caused a lot of confusion by implying that Office 2016 and 2019 won't be able to connect to Microsoft 365 after October 2023. The company has now issued a clarification.