Users of Microsoft Office 2016 and Office 2019 are now facing uncertainties when interacting with Microsoft 365 services, according to a recent announcement. Microsoft is no longer testing the interoperability between these two productivity suites and Microsoft 365 services as of October 10, 2023. However, Microsoft has reassured users that they will not actively block their connections to Microsoft 365 services as long as the Office suites are kept in extended support and up-to-date.
Extended Support and Update Requirements
Both Office 2016 and Office 2019, currently in extended support until October 14, 2024, have to stay up-to-date with the latest quality and security updates. If the productivity suites are not in line with these requirements, users might experience difficulties connecting to Microsoft 365 services. Interestingly, even though Office 2019, released later than its predecessor, Office 2016, should have continued sustainment, Microsoft has shortened its lifespan by removing three years of support.
Push for Migration to Microsoft 365
Microsoft is encouraging users of Office 2016 and 2019, which are perpetual-license products, to switch to a subscription-based Microsoft 365 service. The E3 subscription plan is their recommended offer. Adopting Microsoft 365 ensures regular feature additions to the apps, unlike the perpetual-license counterparts. However, the shift to Microsoft 365 requires adjustments such as adopting OneDrive cloud storage for files, and possibly migrating user and group shares to SharePoint Online. Notably, Microsoft's Configuration Manager cannot be used to facilitate a move to Microsoft 365 as it is unsupported.
On a final note, users of Office 2019 for Mac are also running into a dead end as the suite reached the end of support on October 10, 2023. With no more patches or updates from Microsoft, this could raise security or compliance concerns for organizations.