Microsoft 365 customers getting (a little) less for their money

Microsoft has directly announced two features are being dropped from Microsoft 365 Family, Personal and other plans.  As usual the announcement was full of marketing euphemisms and didn’t tell the whole story because there’s a third feature discontinued on the same date.

Three Microsoft 365 features are being dropped from 30 June 2023 .  That’s more than a year away, so there’s plenty of time to adjust.

Microsoft’s announcement to customers only details two dropped benefits but there are really three.

From our perspective there’s not a lot being lost.  It’s not like when Microsoft cut the OneDrive quota to 1TB on the flimsiest of excuses.

What’s happening and when?

On 30 June 2023 there’ll be three features dropped from Microsoft 365

Wolfram data types in Excel

The many additional data types sourced from Wolfram will stop working on 30 June 2023.  The existing data saved in workbooks will stay intact but there’ll be no additions, updates etc.

In Excel, Data | Date Types only the “Highlighted” Stocks, Currencies and Geography will remain.  All the “Wolfram” data types will stop.

Still working after 30 June 2023

  • Stocks, Currencies and Geography data types.
  • Organization data types, created inside a company.
  • Power Query data types.

Partner Benefits

Microsoft 365 Partner Benefits are offers from other companies giving a free trial or low-cost entry to their offerings.

These offers will cease on 30 June 2023.

Money template discontinued

The third not mentioned feature being dropped is the “Money” Excel template released two years ago.

The template is being discontinued, also from 30 June 2023. After that date, new transactions won’t be added.

It’s the data feed that makes the template work. Microsoft publish reason for dropping it is just a bit of meaningless corporate nonsense

“We’ve learned a lot from Money in Excel and appreciate the many needs people have for their families and their money. We believe there are other areas where we can have a greater impact and will be focusing on those going forward.”

The Office-Watch.com view

Leaving aside the usual Microsoft euphemisms for a moment.  Are these feature removals a big deal?  Not really.

The Wolfram data types were always a worry.  They are basically web page scrapings with pretensions.  The information provided was inconsistent, often not properly documented and sometimes unreliable.  Anything gathered from one of these extra data types had to be cross-checked with other sources.

Microsoft says the feature was ‘underused’ and that’s understandable because Excel users quickly figured out the data wasn’t ‘fit for purpose’.  Presumably Microsoft decided the low use and poor data quality weren’t worth whatever they were paying Wolfram.

It’s great the Stock and Currency data types will remain – they are much better quality and supply hard, comparable prices.

Locally sourced Data Types (either inside an organization or via Power Query) are really useful features. It’s good to hear that they will remain.

“Partner Benefits” was really just an advertising platform.  Microsoft presumably took a fee from companies to add their offer to that page. The offers were typical entry deals that lead to higher cost subscription plans.  If these ‘benefits’ were underused, it’s because Microsoft 365 customers saw them for what they really were.

Money template tried to do too much and was hard to customize. That said it was an impressive bit of Excel coding. The real limitation of the template was that the incoming transactions were limited to one service. Power Query has great features to import data from a variety of sources, including another worksheet. It’s a pity the Excel template didn’t make use of Power Query so customers around the world could use it.

Hiding the third dropped feature

The email announcement to customers mentions “three features we plan to remove next year” then only lists two.

The rumor mill already anticipated that the Wolfram data and partner benefits would be dropped AND also the “Money” Excel template released two years ago.

It seems Microsoft decided to try hiding the Money template stoppage by not fully disclosing it to customers in the same message. Only the message text wasn’t properly updated – oops!

Microsoft cuts OneDrive for Office users

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