Say Goodbye To Owning Microsoft Office

Jason Cooley is Support Services Manager for Tech Experts.

In the workplace, some would say there is nothing as important as ensuring your productivity. Working with computers is likely a part of your job to some degree. If you are working in an office setting, you likely spend a large amount of time on computers.

There is no doubt a difference in daily tasks between different fields, but there are also many similarities. No matter your industry, you are likely familiar with Microsoft Office programs. Excel, Word, and Outlook are the most commonly used software from the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft Office is not cheap. Many businesses will use their current version until it is no longer supported. If 30 users need a new version of Office or a subscription, it has been more cost effective in the past to purchase a copy of the program to use for years until the software becomes unsupported.

This is all going to change. Recently, Microsoft made the announcement regarding the newest version of Exchange Server, their mail server platform.

“This is going to be a version of Exchange that will only be available with the purchase of a subscription,” said Greg Taylor, director of product marketing for Exchange.

This applies to Exchange server, but also applies to Office as they try to move to a month-to-month, pay-as-you-go service. Email hosting and all of your apps are now something you can’t own.

This can result in one of two things, depending on your business. It could be the perfect time to start moving your employees over to the month-to-month model if they aren’t already subscribed.

Alternatively, it can be a burden on someone who will need to switch many users to the pay-by-month model. Microsoft wants the recurring revenue generated in a subscription service, and they don’t mind forcing you into it.

While the announcement came originally involving Exchange server, the end result is the same: Microsoft will make you switch, and it won’t be a choice anymore. For Exchange, 2019 Exchange server will be the last in the line that you can purchase and own.

Once that is out of the support window, you would need to move your licensing to the new subscription model.

As this applies to Office as well, many people may worry about when the changes will need to occur. The changes will not need to be made any time soon if you just purchased, say, Office 2019. You will have a few more years (likely three to four, based on past end of support dates) before you have to pull the trigger.

However, users holding out with Office 2013 will have to make a decision a lot sooner as the security updates end.

The switch to a subscription model is for Microsoft’s benefit. Assuming you used your Office software for five years, you will end up paying more for the new subscription service over those five years.

On the other side of things, you will always have the newest version of Office available to you as every major update and every new version is included.

While it is not an immediate concern, you should start to consider what your Office needs are as time moves forward. Like the rest of the world, Microsoft is always changing.