Businesses that use Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus can look forward to more predictable updates. Starting from September, these will be delivered twice a year.
Microsoft says it will deliver the updates in March and September every year with support for these releases lasting for 18 months.
However, these updates will only be for users who pay a regular subscription for Office 365 ProPlus.
Any business that has already paid a one-off single licence for Office – often known as a perpetual arrangement – will be blocked from using Office 365 after the 13th of October 2020 unless they have a mainstream support agreement in place.
So, it’s worth checking what version of Office 365 your business is using at the moment because ProPlus can be purchased as a standalone version or as part of another plan.
Gary Jowett from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton says: “While it’s good that companies and their IT consultants can plan ahead with greater certainty, this news also signals Microsoft’s intention to charge a subscription fee for Windows 10 by only providing updates twice a year for businesses that use Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10.
“If you currently have a perpetual Office license agreement, now is the time to do a full assessment of all your computing requirements to see whether you should consider moving to ProPlus. It’s a question of weighing up the pros and cons against the additional cost a subscription-based arrangement usually incurs.”
Microsoft claims that aligning updates for Windows 10 and ProPlus will simplify things for customers. To help businesses make the move, Microsoft’s also introducing some new support services.
Application compatibility testing is one. This checks all the most common third-party add-ins are compatible each time a new release is issued. Another is additional monitoring to support the deployment of ProPlus so that customers can easily assess the usage and stability of the apps and add-ins they use with Office 365.
Subscriptions are here to stay
Companies who have faithfully followed the evolution of Microsoft’s services over many decades may moan a little about the new subscription-based model being introduced the reality is, however, it’s here to stay.
At some point all companies who want to take full advantage of Office 365 will have to make the shift unless Microsoft has a change of strategy but this seems unlikely.
Gary says: “The good news is that if you take out a subscription for ProPlus you’re guaranteed regular updates for Windows 10 and Office 365 and your company won’t face a shocking bill from a new operating system rollout in the future. Microsoft’s new approach may look more costly now but it should lead to more predictable budgeting in the longer term which can only be good for the health and wealth of your business.”