Microsoft recently announced some support policy changes that bode well for users running Windows 10, but less so for those running the Office productivity suite. Now a few months later, the latest operating system from Microsoft has managed to surpass Windows 7 worldwide. This is a change from the previous five years of extended support. According to this Microsoft support article (via The Verge), Office 2019 will only run on PCs with Windows 10.
So those running Windows 7 or 8 are out of luck if they wanted to plump for the standalone Office apps, as opposed to Microsoft's cloud-based subscription option, Office 365.
Microsoft announced the next version of Office, Office 2019, a year ago on September and they promised some new features in the new release. This year's releases of Office server software like Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint will also share the same support timeline as Office 2019 apps.
The goal of the support changes is to ensure that Microsoft software gets updates at a more modern pace to address continuous security, the company said. Windows has gone farther than versions older than Windows 10 could catch up. "Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on-premises", said Jared Spataro, general manager, Office, Microsoft.
Which is a bit inconsistent with news from the very same announcement that Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2018 will land "in the fall of 2018" and get five years of extended support.
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Meanwhile, the US Government analytics portal says 21.3 percent of 2.59 billion visitors in the past three months used Windows 10, compared with 19.8 percent Windows 7 devices.
This update covers Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1, and all versions of Windows 10, for client and server.
The vast majority of holdouts from Windows 10 are enterprise customers who have stuck with Windows 7 as there has been no compelling reason for them to upgrade.
In the future, the gap would grow as Windows 7 is slowly becoming obsolete especially since Microsoft pulled mainstream support for the OS. This means that only Windows 10 and Windows 10S users will be able to use the latest and greatest Office tools.
The preliminary version of Office 2019 will become available somewhere around summer but at this point we don't have an official, final release date.