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Microsoft reroutes its roadmap for Office and Windows

Microsoft is rearranging, rerouting, it’s ‘Roadmap’ for the future of Office into a merged ‘Roadmap’ for Microsoft products including Windows and Office.

The Office 365 Roadmap is joining with Windows, Azure and other products to become the Microsoft 365 Roadmap (more like a multi-lane superhighway with complex interchanges)

Artists impression of Microsoft 365 ‘roadmap’

Normally we’d not bother you with the details of Redmond’s latest inside shuffles, but this change foreshadows what may be happening to Microsoft’s customers and what we pay.

Look to a future when we’re expected to pay annual tribute (sorry ‘subscription’) for Windows, as well as Office.

Office 365 Roadmap

Microsoft Roadmaps are about as reliable as a newspaper horoscope column.

At the moment there’s an Office 365 Roadmap which is supposed to set out features coming to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher and Visio.

We say supposed because the roadmap only mentions some features with others notably missing.  The current Excel roadmap has no mention of the Stock and Geo Data Types, an important and interesting new feature that’s now available to Office Insiders.

Current Excel roadmap on the Microsoft site at 28 Aug 2018

Office public roadmap’s have traditionally been of little value to anyone trying to plan their Microsoft Office deployments.  As you can see above, even important and publicly known information is missing.  Microsoft can and does change their plans without notice.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap

As reported by Mary Jo Foley among others, the new roadmap (not yet released) merges Office products into the broader Microsoft product range, in particular Windows.

It’s another sign that Microsoft is moving towards a ‘subscription’ rental plan for Windows, along the line of Office 365 Home and Personal.

Think of a ‘Microsoft 365’ subscription which may bundle Windows licences with Office into a single annual rental fee.

This has been the long term goal, to get a regular flow of cash from Windows instead of occasional floods of upgrade money.

It’s worked for Microsoft Office with profits increasing nicely for MSFT.  Customers are mostly accustomed to paying each year for Office and now that habit is established its Windows turn.

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