Bye-Bye Microsoft Office, Hello Microsoft 365 Apps – Soon With AI Copilot.

Microsoft has made two important announcements, indicating that the time of the classic Microsoft Office suite is coming to an end. One is an important end-of-support announcement, and the other is about new AI features that are meant to make our daily work easier in the future.

  #Microsoft   #Microsoft 365   #Artificial Intelligence  
Lars Zängerle
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What is the difference between Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 apps?

Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher and OneNote, the tried and tested office applications, are commonly referred to as Microsoft Office. Users bought a specific Office version (2013, 2016, etc.) at their local IT store, installed the package on their computer, deposited the license key, and they were ready to go. An internet connection was only necessary to install occasional security updates. New features were usually delivered only with the change to the next Office generation.

For a few years now, it has been possible to obtain Office applications as a subscription from the Microsoft 365 Cloud. Microsoft refers to this as Microsoft 365 apps. Since this is an evergreen service, there are no longer any actual major versions, and new features are added via the Internet with the latest updates. A web version as well as OneDrive storage are also included.


No more support for Office 2016 and 2019 with Microsoft 365

Customers who start on the path to the Microsoft 365 cloud often keep their existing Office licenses during the initial phase for cost reasons. Office 2016 works flawlessly for most users in conjunction with Microsoft 365. Now, Microsoft has announced that Office 2016 and 2019 applications (including Visio & Project) will no longer be covered by guaranteed support when it comes to accessing Microsoft 365 services, starting this October. It is important to note: Microsoft does not say that such access will no longer work. Still, the idea that Microsoft will not provide support if Outlook 2016 suddenly cannot connect to Exchange Online will make some CIOs nervous.

We therefore strongly recommend that existing Microsoft 365 customers with Office 2016 or 2019 installations consider switching to Microsoft 365 apps or Office LTSC 2021.


Will Microsoft 365 Copilot become AI technology for everyday office life?

Recently, the much-anticipated Microsoft 365 Copilot feature was announced with fanfare[i]. Basis is OpenAI's GPT technology. First visual demo examples give an idea of the impressive potential behind it. Learn more here.

Modern Work enthusiasts cannot wait for it to become available and are already talking about a game changer that will have a groundbreaking impact on the world of work (with all the pros and cons). A timetable for the availability of Microsoft 365 Copilot has not yet been announced.  What is certain, however, is that integration will be available in popular Microsoft apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. No prerequisites are specified. However, it can be assumed that integration will only be available in the Microsoft 365 version and that an Internet connection will be required. Companies that rely on the classic Microsoft Office will probably have to manage without AI Copilot.


What about data protection?

Telemetry data sent to and from Microsoft are already the subject of controversy. With the integration of cloud-based AI functions in Office, the concerns will certainly not diminish. Fact is that future AI technologies such as Chat GPT or Microsoft 365 Copilot demonstrate enormous potential and are primarily accessible via the cloud. Most customers will gladly accept this and switch to Microsoft 365 apps, if this has not already happened. This, of course, much to the delight of Microsoft shareholders, who will gladly accept the company's subscription revenue continuing to grow. A few heavily regulated companies may switch to the LTSC version of Office, which, sooner or later, is expected to be the only Office version without requiring Internet access. However, the question of whether users of this version will consequently abandon other cloud services such as Deepl or Chat GPT remains unanswered for now. In any case, developments in the area of Modern Work remain exciting.


[i] Introducing Microsoft 365 Copilot – your copilot for work - The Official Microsoft Blog