The change is planned to take effect in 2020 and was explained in a recent post on the official Office blog by Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President for the Office Commercial Marketing Team. The vast majority of the user experience will remain unaffected, but certain tangential services such as Skype for Business and OneDrive for Business will be removed from the included features with standalone versions of Microsoft Office in approximately three years. Users would still be able to access the non-business versions of Skype and OneDrive, but companies that have wholeheartedly committed to Microsoft’s vision for integrated services might have to budget for the eventual change.
The move is being touted by Microsoft as a way to better keep enterprise users up to date and enhance overall security. This follows a similar line of reasoning to their previous decision to bar PCs with newer processors running Windows 7 and 8.1 from getting all of the latest updates for the operating system. A Github user has recently circumvented this requirement with a series of open-source batch files.
In addition to these changes, Office 365 will also be moving to a six-month upgrade cycle for major releases, a move that is being mirrored by Windows 10. Major updates will be deployed to Office 365 every six months with each distinct version being supported for 18 months after its initial launch.
Update: The title has been reordered slightly for legibility and proper grammar.
Man, I remember when you could just buy a piece of software and use it forever. Each tiny little step like this goes towards a darker future where most software are services that you perpetually have to keep buying into. I suppose it’s to be expected for businesses, but similar trends have been coming out in games and consumer-level software as well and I can’t say that I’m fond of it.
What do you think of Microsoft cutting off access to services such as OneDrive for Business and Skype for Business in standalone versions of Microsoft Office? Do you think that three years is a sufficient lead time for businesses to adapt to the change? Let us know in the comments below!