The goal of this post is to compile all publicly announced Office 365 service changes for 2020, especially those that may require admin action, into a single reference. These changes are listed below in chronological order, based on the "Action Required" date. Additional information and resources related to these changes are provided where applicable. Updates will be made to this post as new service changes are announced, or updates to announced changes are provided.
Note: All changes may not have been communicated to your tenant / environment.
- Updated Focused Inbox and retirement of Clutter - corrected year in Action Required date from 2018 to 2020
- Added Changes to Office 365 ProPlus system requirements - action required by January 14, 2020
- Added Focused Inbox and retirement of Clutter - January 31, 2020
- Updated Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity - added "Office 365 system requirements changes effective 2020" image from Ignite 2017 session
- Added Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity
Changes to Office 365 ProPlus system requirements
Action Required by: January 14, 2020
Details: Office 365 ProPlus delivers cloud-connected and always up-to-date versions of the Office desktop apps. To ensure that customers get the most secure and efficiently managed experience from ProPlus and Windows 10 together, we are providing updates on the Windows system requirements for Office 365 ProPlus. To clarify our current support practices for ProPlus running on Windows 10, ProPlus will not be supported on Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel (SAC) versions that are no longer being serviced.
Effective January 14, 2020, ProPlus will no longer be supported on the following versions of Windows. This will ensure that both Office and Windows receive regular, coordinated updates to provide the most secure environment with the latest capabilities.
- Any Windows 10 LTSC release
- Windows Server 2016 and older
- Windows 8.1 and older
Delivering Office 365 ProPlus remotely via Remote Desktop and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) continues to be a key scenario for our customers. Microsoft is committed to enabling Office 365 Pro Plus in this scenario along with key Windows 10 experiences like Microsoft Edge, Store for Business, and Cortana. Later this year we will deliver these capabilities within the Semi-Annual Channel release cadence of Office, Windows 10, and Windows Server.
- Changes to Office 365 ProPlus system requirements (February 1, 2018)
- Changes to Office and Windows servicing and support
Focused Inbox and retirement of Clutter
Action Required by: January 31, 2020
Details: In July 2016 we announced that Focused Inbox, a new feature in Outlook that helps you cut through the noise of email to focus on what matters most, would be coming to Office 365 customers. Focused Inbox first rolled out to customers who use modern authentication, and earlier this month we added support for basic authentication. This means that Focused Inbox is now available to all Office 365 customers on the Monthly Channel of Office 365 ProPlus. If you aren’t seeing it yet, be sure your Outlook version is updated to build 16.0.8730 Version 1711 or greater. Focused Inbox will be available to customers on the Semi-Annual Channel in the March 2018 Semi-Annual Targeted release, and the July 2018 Semi-Annual release, according to that channel’s standard schedule.
With Focused Inbox now rolled out, we’d like to share more about our plans for Clutter. As we mentioned in July, Focused Inbox is the long-term replacement for Clutter. It carries forward Clutter’s capabilities but removes the need to visit a separate folder to check your less-actionable messages. Because Clutter and Focused Inbox use the same algorithms for sorting messages, there are no changes to how email is classified, just a better user experience.
We’ll continue to make Clutter available to Office 365 customers until January 31, 2020. To prepare for Clutter’s eventual retirement, we’ve turned the feature off by default for new users. It’s also deactivated for those with extremely low usage (less than 12 emails per month being moved to the Clutter folder), however they can re-enable Clutter at any time, if desired.
Additional Information: Update on Focused Inbox and our plans for Clutter
Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity
Action Required by: October 13, 2020
Details: When customers connect to Office 365 with a legacy version of Office, they’re not enjoying all that the service has to offer. The IT benefits—particularly security—are cut short. And the end user experience in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time. To ensure that customers are getting the most out of their Office 365 subscription, we are updating our system requirements.
- Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support required to connect to Office 365 services: Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services.
- Applies to Office 365 commercial services only: This update does not change our system requirements or support policies for the Office perpetual clients, Office perpetual clients connecting to on-premises servers, or any consumer services.
- More than three years' notice: We're providing more than three years' notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services.
The slide below is from Ignite 2017 session, BRK2005 - Roadmap for Office 365 client requirements and service connectivity:
- Office 365 ProPlus updates (Office Blog)
- Microsoft Tech Community Discussion
- New upgrade readiness tools for Office 365 ProPlus
- Office 365 ProPlus Deployment Guide
- Microsoft FastTrack Deployment Assistance