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Understanding Office 2019 End of Life

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Stuff You Should Know About Office 2019 End of Life

A New Version of Office with a Shorter Support Life

Office 2019 is the newest version of Microsoft’s Office Suite with a perpetual license. As an alternative to Office 365’s subscription model, Office 2019 offers users a one-time payment for access and use to the suite of services offered.
However, much like how Office and its various services have changed over the years, Office 2019 has also come with some significant changes to the formula compared to other perpetually licensed versions of the software in the past. As it is continued to be developed, and new features added, a push has been made towards the software as a service model (SaaS) that a means to get updates developed and deployed faster.
For organizations that are trying to decide which is the best solution to their needs, it can be a confusing situation. As different versions of the software offer different solutions to an organization’s needs, understanding which version of Office is right for you is important.
Let’s take a dive into Office 2019, and how it differs from Office 365, and prior versions of Office.

What’s New with Office 2019

Released in September of 2018, Office 2019 is the successor to Office 2016 and the current standalone version of Office. It comes with a variety of updates from the prior version of Office, including animation tools in PowerPoint, updated and new formulas and charts in Excel, as well as a bevy of other features.
However, with those changes come a whole slew of others that have caused some to ask questions and have some concern about the future of perpetually licensed office products.

Software Access

By default, Office 2019 comes with access to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Additional access can be bought down the line, as well as setting up the one-time purchase to cover these costs at time of initial purchase.
While many of these applications will work similarly to their Office 365 counterparts, there are a few notable differences that set them apart. One of the largest ones is that Office 2019 does not have the kind of integration for cloud services that the subscription model offers.
While saving to OneDrive is still possible, there is less availability with opportunities to work across devices, or to collaborate on documents as there is with Office 365. Likewise, there is no access to the Office Online services.

A Shorter Service Life

In the past, standalone versions of Office would have a service life of 5 years of mainstream support, and 5 years of extended support. These updates would come with fixes to any potential issues, security updates, and other necessary updates to ensure that the software suite functions as intended.
For Office 2019 however, things have been changed. While this version of the productivity suite is still getting 5 years of mainline support, it will only receive two years of extended support, which ends in 2025. This coincides with statements Microsoft has said regarding a new direction regarding software updates.

Why is Support for Office 2019 Less than Prior Versions?

In a release written by the general manager for Office, Jared Spataro, he stated that “It has become imperative to move our software to a more modern cadence.” This seems to be targeted specifically at the standalone versions of the productivity suite, which have, bit by bit, featured less than what is offered by Office 365.
As time goes on, updating and developing new versions and features, and with Office 365 taking the center stage with its frequent updates and fixes, it is no wonder that this the route Microsoft wishes to take.
Software development is expensive, and single-time payments for software can often mean that resources will be limited regarding the scope of possible updates. With the added revenue that the SaaS model provides, that allows for the more frequent updates that Office 365 benefits from.

What Happens After Office 2019 Reaches End of Life?

Since Office 2019 is sold with a perpetual license, that means that even after service ends for it, the software will continue to be usable. However, it will no longer receive any sort of support or updating from Microsoft, meaning that it will be left open to any future threats to stability and security that may arise.
This end of service life will likely also coincide with the release with another standalone version of the software, as Jared Spataro has dismissed rumors that Office 2019 is the final standalone version of Office.
However, with the service life being cut short by 30% already, it is not out of the realm of possibility to assume that the service lives for future versions of Office may find themselves shorter and shorter as time goes on. Microsoft has made it very clear that the future of their software development for Office lies in Office 365, and that it is their focus.

The Future of Microsoft Office

So, where’s that leave the Office Suite?
While it is hard to tell just what is going to happen in the future, it seems to be the case that software as a service is the mold that is going to become the standard.
That presents an interesting choice for businesses and organizations that are looking to purchase or upgrade their current office software to new prospects. Researching the options, weighing the benefits, and calculating the costs are more important than ever to ensuring that you are getting the best services for the best value.
Before you make any purchases or subscription commitments, you should first:

  • Thoroughly research the differences of each version of Microsoft Office
  • Compare the software services offered
  • Take stock of how many computers/employees will need access to the software
  • Evaluate costs and how they will impact your budget
  • Consult with your IT professionals

After taking these steps, you should have a good sense about which version will best suit your organization’s needs.
It is wise though to consider what the landscape of Microsoft Office will look like in the future. While there are still offerings for one-time payments for the productivity suite, Office 365 will likely become the sole option available one day, even if that day is far off.
Coupled with its diminished offerings and limited updates, Office 2019 may not be the optimal choice for businesses that are technologically minded, or wish to have the most up-to-date, stable offerings from Microsoft.
Whichever choice you wind up going with, make sure to consult with your IT technicians as we’ve discussed prior. They will help to make sure that your installation will go smoothly, and that should you wish to upgrade or change your service package in the future, that they will be prepared and equipped to assist in that transition.