As of Tuesday night, Mac users have received their final security updates for Office 2010 and 2016. Microsoft has now removed the suites from their support list and is urging customers to move to the subscription-based Office 365.
Jared Saputo, a Microsoft executive, said:
“We’ll no longer provide technical support, bug fixes, or security updates for these products, and organizations that continue to use them may face increased security risks and compliance issues over time.”
The Office 2010 suite of applications launched way back in April 2010 and received Microsoft’s standard ten-year support plan. Office 2016 for Mac was released in September 2015 and counted on five years of support, as is customary for Microsoft applications for Mac.
Office 2010 and Office 2016 are what Microsoft describes as ‘perpetual’ versions of its applications. Traditional software that once purchased is licensed for use on a specific machine for as long as the customer needs or wants. This perpetuity lasts even after support is withdrawn, as long as clients are comfortable without updates and security patches.
The end of support messages and subsequent pitch for migration to Office 365 shows how invested Microsoft is in their subscription model. Both Office 2010 and Office 2016 for Mac have ‘perpetual’ successors (Office 2016 and Office 2019), but neither has received a mention as potential replacements for 2010 or 2016 following the withdrawal of support.
This reinforces Microsoft’s default position – that Microsoft 365 Apps is the way to go for all Microsoft customers. Cloud computing is here to stay, and Microsoft is ensuring that they are at the forefront of the drive to cloud migration.
Of course, there are always going to be users for whom subscription options don’t work. Jared Saputo went on to say:
“For those customers who … have a specific need for on-premises or hybrid deployment, such as fully disconnected or restricted environments, we offer Office 2019, the perpetual version of Office that does not receive feature updates.”
However, it is clear that Microsoft sees that the end goal is all of its customers, clients, and users joining its subscriber list. They even have a track record of comparing and contrasting Office 365 favorably against their own ‘perpetual’ products!
As yet, Microsoft is not planning to require its users to migrate to the cloud. But it seems likely that they will eventually end perpetual licensing for their Office applications.