Microsoft has stopped supporting connections from Office 2019 and Office 2016 to their Microsoft 365 online services. It’s another ‘passive aggressive’ move to get customers off older versions of Office and onto Microsoft 365.
Both Office 2019 and Office 2016 will continue to be supported with bug and security fixes until late 2025 however Microsoft has now carved out an important exclusion from that policy.
From 10 October 2023, Microsoft won’t test or guarantee that Office 2019 or Office 2016 will connect with any of these Microsoft services:
- Exchange Online (i.e mailbox, calendar etc) connected to Outlook desktop
- SharePoint Online
- OneDrive for Business
Current connections to those services should continue to work but Microsoft won’t guarantee they’ll continue to function.
If any of those Microsoft services make changes, Microsoft won’t test those changes to ensure they work with Office 2019 or Office 2016.
Check your support entitlement with our Microsoft Office support end dates checklist
To put it another way
Office 2019 and Office 2016 customers paid expecting the advertised support from Microsoft for another two years.
Now find that they have no guarantee that they can connect to Microsoft’s own services for two years less than what they paid for.
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt – FUD
Should there be a problem, you’re on your own or as Microsoft puts it “could experience performance or reliability issues”.
Microsoft promises they won’t “actively block these clients from connecting to Microsoft 365 services“. Paying customers of Office 2019/2016 are entitled to be wary of that undertaking, given Microsoft’s track record.
Another problem for customers is what to do if they have a problem, say, connecting Outlook 2019/2016 with a Microsoft 365 mailbox. Is it a problem with Outlook (bad login, profile) or a new incompatibility introduced by a change in Microsoft 365? There’s no sure way to know because Microsoft have effectively ‘washed their hands’ of any issue to do with older Office and their cloud services.
You can be sure that Microsoft is well aware of the “FUD” factor.
No reason except greed
There’s no technical reason for this change. Microsoft could and should still support Office products connecting to Microsoft’s own services.
Office 2019 and Office 2016 support continues for almost another two years (until 14 October 2025).
The decision to stop part of that support early is a greedy move to save Microsoft a little testing/support cost and push customers to, more profitable, Microsoft 365 plans.
If you have any doubt about Microsoft’s reasons for cutting support, their ‘Recommended Action’ to deal with this change is that customers “… should transition to a supported Office version “. In other words, pay more to Microsoft.
‘Fixed’ support = flexible
Microsoft’s ‘fixed lifecycle’ of support has always been more flexible and self-serving than fixed. Office 2019 and Office 2021 customers already have much shorter support times than the supposedly ‘fixed’ ten years that Microsoft once swore by.
Cutting off Microsoft 365 connection support is particularly galling since Office 2019 customers have already had their ‘fixed’ support cut from ten years to five.