A blog post on TechNet on February 1st from Caitlin Fitzgerald reveals three major changes coming to Office 2019. In case you didn’t already know, 2019 is the next major Office version, scheduled for release later this year (2018). The Preview should roll out late in Q2, with final release highly likely to appear in Q4.
Two coming changes in this new release are quite logical and run-of-the-mill. First, Microsoft will release Office 2019 only as a Click-to-Run install. MSI installers and ISO images will not be offered. I find this a logical development, because Microsoft wants to standardize the way Office is offered to end users, and how it will be serviced and kept up-to-date. Also, Windows 10 S edition users will get a UWP version of Office 2019 from the Microsoft Store.
Another ordinary, run-of-the-mill change is that Office 2019 will require Windows 10. In other words, Office 2019 can only be installed to all editions of Windows 10 but not previous versions of Windows. Office 2019 will only be available to the so-called “Semi Annual Channel” (aka Current Branch, such as Creators Update and Fall Creators Update), Enterprise LTSC (formerly known as LTSB), and the next LTSC release of Windows Server. Personally, I find this a welcome change. I see no compelling reason why new Office versions should be made and designed for use in legacy XP and Seven PCs. I say: If you want to use the latest, modern software, use a modern operating system, too.
One change that I was not expecting is shorter support periods, and a shorter product end of life. Up through Office 2016 the policy has been to offer 5 years of standard support with 5 more years of extended support, for a total of 10 years. With Office 2019, this will now change. The extended support will be cut 60%, to 2 years instead of the 5 years for previous Office versions. Thus, the extended support period for Office 2019 will end on October 14th, 2025 (instead of 2028).
Here’s a relevant excerpt from the TechNet blog post:
Modern software not only provides new features to help people do their best work, but also new, more efficient manageability solutions and more comprehensive approaches to security. Software that is more than a decade old, and hasn’t benefited from this innovation, is difficult to secure and inherently less productive. As the pace of change accelerates, it has become imperative to move our software to a more modern cadence.
All in all, no surprises outside this shortened lifecycle which, upon reflection and Microsoft’s explanation, actually makes sense. I will post more about Office 2019 as soon as I get the first preview release installed.
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.