Microsoft will continue forcing customers to Office 365: report

A private April 2018 Gartner report confirms what has been saying for years.  Microsoft is forcing customers away from perpetual licence/one-off software purchases and into software rental like Office 365.

As reported by Gregg Keizer at Computerworld, Microsoft will continue ‘encouraging’ customer to annual fees by limiting access to key cloud features for perpetual licence products.

That means limited or no Office 365 access.  Not just cutting off email, Sharepoint and OneDrive but also cloud-based features like Excel Map Charts and Insights, PowerPoint Designer and Word/Outlook Dictate.

Already Microsoft has decided that perpetual licence customers will only get access to cloud services for the first five years of the products support cycle.

The Gartner report predicts  “By YE20 (year end 2020), it (Microsoft) will announce that only Office 365 ProPlus will be supported for accessing Office 365 online services, Office traditional will not be supported”

Office 2019

Under Microsoft current policy, the upcoming Office 2019 for Windows and Mac should have cloud services access until 2023.

But Microsoft can and does change their ‘firm’ support policies whenever they like. Already, Office 2019 for Windows gets three years less support time than Microsoft ‘fixed’ Office support policy.

Gartner predicts that Office 2019 customers will be squeezed even further.  They suggest that Redmond will decide that Office 2019 won’t get any cloud services unless they subscribe.


Gartner seem a little coy about why Microsoft is encouraging annual payments for Office instead of one-off purchases.

The report says Microsoft is motivated to discourage “mixing the use of long-term and semi-annual channel editions,”.  In other words, perpetual licence and subscription software.

They also conclude that  “This likely signals an overall reduced commitment to traditional (on-premises) products,” .

Of course, the main reason Microsoft wants to kill Office perpetual licence is money, moola, profit.  Office 365 regular payments are more profitable for Microsoft than one-off purchases.  Not only does the company make more money, it’s harder for customers to migrate to rivals when users are entangled with unique cloud services.

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