Traditionally, the Office applications followed a lifecycle of five years each in mainstream and extended support. However, the situation is now more complicated because the apps are also limited in their use by being disconnected from the Microsoft 365 cloud services or when being run on an outdated Windows.

Office 2013 is currently coming to the end of its lifecycle, which ends on April 11, 2023. Given the lack of significant innovations in the newer Office applications, many companies might want to stick with the old apps, even if Microsoft no longer provides security updates for them.

One obstacle to the continued use of unsupported Office applications, however, is that they can no longer connect to Microsoft 365 cloud services, such as Exchange Online or OneDrive.

Office 2013 and M365 Cloud ^

In the case of Office 2013 SP1, Microsoft points out in this support document that these applications may already encounter reliability or performance issues when communicating with the Microsoft 365 cloud services.Nevertheless, they will not be actively blocked from Microsoft's online services before April 2023.

End of support for Office 2013 SP1 on April 11, 2023. Until then, the apps are still allowed to connect to Microsoft 365

End of support for Office 2013 SP1 on April 11, 2023. Until then, the apps are still allowed to connect to Microsoft 365

Premature end for Office 2016 and 2019 ^

The opposite is true for the two newer versions in the Long-Term Servicing Channel. Office 2016 and 2019 will still receive support until October 14, 2025, but will no longer have access to Microsoft 365 services as early as October 2023.

Update: It seems like Microsoft will not actively block these versions from using M365 services. Instead, users will get no support in case of connectivity problems.

Since Office 2019 users received a shorter support period of seven years for their software, the effective lifecycle of these applications shrinks to five years if companies want to access Microsoft's online services.

Office LTSC 2021 is the only option for RDS ^

Those who don't want to switch to a subscription version after the end of life for their current Office apps can still update to Office LTSC 2021. But this version will inherently only get five years of support, i.e., until Oct. 13, 2026. However, it will be able to connect to Microsoft 365 services until that date.

This is currently the only upgrade path for companies that want to use Office applications on a Windows Server 2022-based terminal server. Microsoft does not support the Microsoft 365 apps on this server OS.

No more support on Windows 8.1 ^

Office applications can also lose support if they are still within the lifecycle but are running on an operating system that is no longer supported.

In a blog post, Microsoft points out that the Microsoft 365 apps will no longer be supported on Windows 8.1, Windows 7, or Server 2008 R2 with Extended Security Updates (ESU) from January 10, 2023. From this date, you can't even install them on Windows 8.1.

On supported operating systems, Microsoft 365 apps are subject to the Modern Lifecycle Policy, which requires users to update the apps regularly. The intervals depend on the channel from which you get the applications.

Microsoft would like to consolidate its customers onto the Monthly Enterprise Channel. To that end, it announced at the beginning of the year that companies would automatically be switched from the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel to the Monthly Enterprise Channel unless they objected to this measure. The end of support date for each version is shown in this table.

Conclusion ^

When upgrading to a new version of Microsoft Office, companies can no longer assume that they are set for the next 10 years.

On the contrary, Microsoft limits the use of the LTSC versions in particular with additional restrictions. These include, above all, an inherently reduced support period, disconnecting them from its online services or granting no support on outdated operating systems.

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All these measures obviously serve to push customers toward subscriptions, which lead to higher costs in the long run. If users want to deploy Office on a terminal server under Windows Server 2022, however, only the LTSC versions are available to them.

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6 Comments
  1. bgavin 4 months ago

    Thanks for providing the road map.

    I am now fully retired from the corporate environment, and have a very different take on this relentless upgrade-upgrade-upgrade and subscription environment.

    My private clients have zero interest in being used as contributors to a subscription revenue stream. They are not interested in the fragility of interconnection with the cloud, phones, etc.

    I always appreciate your articles, thanks so much.
    Yes, I remain on Win7 Pro and Photoshop CS6EE on my personal workstation.

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  2. SimonC 4 months ago

    Does anyone know if the Office 2016 connectivity to Office 365 ending in 2023 is a recent change of Microsoft policy? I was aware of the 2025 EOL but the Office 365 connectivity is a but of shock. Thanks.

    • Gerold Manders 4 months ago

      This is the problem with subscriptions, the power is now in Microsoft’s hands. I’m sure they employ many capable hands, which have their customers interest at heart. Unfortunately, I’m also sure they this particular groups is vastly outnumbered inside the Microsoft ranks.

      The rest of them is in this game for the money. Not a bad thing in and off itself, don’t get me wrong. But a subscription model? Currently they are showing their good side, with reasonable prices for reasonable service.

      But that won’t last, and then Microsoft has more control over your data and content than you do yourself. Call me old-fashioned all you want, but moving everything to the cloud is a tactical mistake. Well, a tactical mistake for anyone but Microsoft.

      Besides, “computing” in general only began to take flight after most tech companies let go of their “main-frame mindset” and the vendor lock-in that comes with that. And yet, nowadays so many systems/companies swallowed the tech companies BS reasons hook, line and sinker.

      As if this whole to the cloud movement isn’t anything else than the “main-frame mindset” and customers are back again on the “receiving end” of the vendor lock-in. If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of dealing with Oracle’s sales department, you would already have known what to brace for when you give companies with money-lust so much control over your data. Oracle never lost their “main-frame mindset”.

      And Microsoft has an unfettered lust for money. These days they were smarter by hiring better PR than they did in their early days. But their lust for money has never wavered one inch. Seems like a lot of people/companies need to learn that lesson again…the hard way. Unfortunately.

  3. Johan 4 months ago

    It is a doubled edge sword, you can stay on your older software/OS but then you have to accept the security exploits that do not get fixed or get updated because it is no longer supported, or you go down the road of having the latest bits and security updates. Unfortunately those are not FREE and before you yarn about it being their fault (writers of that software/OS) just remember nobody can write the perfect solution out of the box, we are all just human and errors are a indelible human trait. Having written software and managed networks for many-a-years I can attest to that.

  4. bgavin 4 months ago

    I have just under 50 years in the computer business, many of those decades as sysadmin in Fortune 50 data centers. And all of them in various stages of software and OS development. I very much understand the complexity and potential for error in every OS and application.

    Not everybody is at high risk and needing the latest and greatest fixes for security exploits. My private clients quietly run their businesses without endless browsing of internet sites or social media. One client is forced to remain on WinXP until they retire, due to their application package being forever constricted to XP, and the “upgrade” priced beyond reach at $30,000 USD.

    I personally do not care for the invasive nanny in the newer Windows offerings, so I avoid them. I keep all the latest versions on VMs for learning purposes, but not for my personal use.

    I may be obsolete, but I truly do not care for subscription based products. Some of us are just fine doing our work without needing the latest and greates.

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  5. Paolo Maffezzoli 4 months ago

    MS Office LTSC in Microsoft vision has only a limited extension of support, opposite to the previous 10 years support.

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