Soon, Microsoft will end support for non-365 versions of Office products (perpetual versions). Microsoft has already ended support for Office 2013 as of April 11, 2023. Office 2016/2019 will go end of support as of October 10, 2023. Customers that purchase extended support will receive it for another couple of years, but mainstream support for these Office versions will cease, and no more security updates or new features will be available after these dates.
The opposite is true for the two newer versions in the Long-Term Servicing Channel. Office LTSC 2016/2019 will still receive support until October 14, 2025, but will no longer have access (or at least supported access) to Microsoft 365 services as early as October 2023.
Those who don’t want to switch to a subscription version after the end of life for their current Office apps can still update to Office LTSC 2021. Microsoft will support this version for an additional five years and will be the only supported non-subscription option available for use in RDS environments moving forward. The LTSC 2021 will also continue to be supported for connecting to Microsoft 365 without losing any functionality during this support period.
Will desktop versions be able to connect to Microsoft 365?
Microsoft has stated that this does not mean that these desktop versions, once end of support, will no longer be able to connect to Microsoft 365 resources. On the contrary, they will still be able to connect to Microsoft 365 from these EOS (end of support) Office versions. However, this will not be officially supported by Microsoft and can’t be guaranteed that everything will continue to work correctly.
Since Office 2016/2019 will no longer get feature enhancements or security updates, connecting to Microsoft 365 from these older desktop versions can eventually be hit or miss. Some things may work, and others may not, especially if authentication schemes change and the unsupported versions do not receive any updates to add the necessary updated/upgraded authentication features.
This is not true for LTSC 2021. Since it will continue support through October 13, 2026, connecting to 365 will be officially supported and all features should continue to work just fine.
Here’s an excerpt from Microsoft official statements from spokespersons concerning older Office versions connecting to 365 services post-support:
Practically, this means that as we make updates to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft 365 services, we will not be building around the constraints inherent in the older perpetual Office clients that are already out of mainstream support. Customers will not be blocked in connecting, but they may not get the full value out of new investments in our cloud services. Over time, they may run into unexpected issues.
Can we still use the desktop versions of Office 2016/2019?
What does this tell us for those who have purchased the desktop version(s) of Office 2016/2019? That, like any other non-subscription licensed product, you can use it however long you want to do so—you bought it outright—as long as it will install on your OS. Please note that Windows 8.1 (Server 2012R2) and versions below will not allow you to install Microsoft 365 apps as of January 2023.
Most importantly, you are putting yourself at risk by using a product that is no longer receiving any security updates from Microsoft. Hence, if you want to keep using your older office perpetual versions and not upgrade to the cloud subscription version(s), then you are doing so at your own risk.
If you have any questions about the end of support for Office 2016/2019 or want to update to LTSC 2021 or Microsoft 365? Please reach out to our experts at any time!