When Microsoft announced plans earlier this year to change the Windows 10 update schedule to twice yearly – with the aim of making it easier for businesses – this attracted so much attention that it distracted from the software giant’s plans for Office 365. However, the company also revealed new ideas for the updating of this product.
Essentially those who have signed up to the business version of the Office 365 suite will be getting updates on a similar schedule to that of Windows 10 users. The version called Office 365 ProPlus, which is used by those on the Enterprise E5 and E3 plans, will be receiving updates twice a year, at six-month intervals – the same schedule set to be enjoyed by users of Windows 10. This is due to what the tech firm is referring to as an ‘alignment’ between these two products and the changed update schedule is due to kick in this autumn. Once it starts, Office 365 ProPlus updates will be issued in September and March, marking a change from the previous schedule, which was October, June and February.
The primary reason Microsoft has given for this new update schedule is that users have indicated they would prefer a more straightforward one linked to that of Windows 10. However, it is also likely that promoting its Secure Productive Enterprise suite had something to do with Microsoft’s decision. Bundling together Enterprise Mobility + Security, Office 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise, this is available in both E5 and E3 versions – the first of which is more expensive and has more functions for business security and calling.
However, some of its customers were unhappy with the fact that, despite being part of the same suite, Office 365 and Windows 10 had different schedules for updating, making the changes announced by Microsoft a way of boosting the popularity of the suite. Furthermore, it is not just the timing of Office 365 updates that will be changing, as they will now be supported for a period of 18 months, instead of just 12 months as before. Again, this is in line with the support period for Windows 10.
The final significant alteration is to the names being used to describe the updates to Office 365 ProPlus, with Semi-annual Channel (Broad) and (Pilot) being the new names – indicating a sort of preview and full release status for them. Those who are signed up to Office 365 ProPlus can expect to get the first set of Pilot updates for it in the middle of September, with these set to be classified as Broad by sometime in January of next year.
Here at WM Reply, we feel it is good that Microsoft is listening to its customers on this issue. We always seek to tailor the SharePoint solutions we offer to the needs of each client.
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