Microsoft has announced some administrative detail about the next ‘fixed’ version of Office for Windows; Office 2019. The news demonstrates, yet again, that Microsoft really doesn’t want anyone buying Office 2019. Redmond wants everyone paying annual Office fee instead.
Office 2019 for Windows is the ‘perpetual’ or fixed version of Office which can be bought as a one-time purchase. It’s different from ‘Office as a service’ bought as part of an Office 365 or other annual plan.
Microsoft wants everyone on an annual payment but knows there are many customers who prefer the single payment option. So, they’re releasing Office 2019 but with yet more limitations to encourage customers to annual payments.
The underlying motive is to changes a customer’s calculation on buying the ‘one time’ Office 2019 or switching to an annual fee for Microsoft Office.
All the media focus has been on Windows 10 compatibility, but the real news is that Office 2019 customers get 30% less support time.
Windows 10 only
Office 2019 for Windows will only work on Windows 10. No surprise.
While Microsoft can probably give some vague technical reasons for dropping Windows 7 and 8, the real reason is money. Microsoft has always used Office compatibility to push sales of newer Windows.
Shorter Support Period
Buried in Microsoft’s announcement was the considerably shorter support period for Office 2019. Only 7 years instead of 10 years.
That means Office 2019 buyers will have to pay again for Office software three years earlier than they would have if Microsoft applied their own ‘Fixed’ policy.
Microsoft’s own policy requires a 10 year support cycle for their products. Five years of ‘mainstream’ support with patches for security and bugs then another five years of ‘extended’ support.
After 14 October 2025 (not 2028) there’ll be no security patches for Office 2019. The ‘extended’ support has been shortened to two years instead of five.
This is called the “Microsoft Fixed Lifecycle Policy” though there’s nothing ‘Fixed’ about it. The policy can and is changed when it suits Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, the shorter support period is to “align with the support period for Office 2016”. They don’t explain why aligning the support for the two products has any relevance for customers … probably because it doesn’t.
Whatever vague reason Redmond gives, the effect is that Office 2019 customers will be forced to pay again for Office software again three years before they would have under Microsoft’s own ‘fixed’ policy.
That means more money for Microsoft and lower support costs for Microsoft.
Click to Run install only
Office 2019 will only be available via the streaming ‘Click to Run’ installation.
There’ll be no single large download or .MSI installation except for specialist installations on servers.
Having a consistent installation and update system across Office for Windows is a good thing. The downside are the problems and lack of flexibility in choosing updates.
Linguistic Obfuscation, Microsoft style
We’ve been enduring Microsoft’s prose for over twenty years, but the announcement of the Windows and Office support changes breaks new ground in obscurity.
The different releases and licences of Windows and Office are confusing enough (even to Microsoft’s staff) but then you add deliberate obfuscation to hide the bad news (like reduced support).
We’re told that Office 2019 for Windows will be released in ‘H2 of 2018’ which means the second half of 2018.
We loved this phrase ” SAC release cadence of Windows 10 ” – cadence? You can guess what Microsoft means though it doesn’t match the dictionary definition, as provided by Microsoft’s own Bing: