Office 2016/2019 will lose access to Microsoft 365 starting October 2023

[German]Microsoft Office users may face some unpleasant surprise in 2023. From April 2023, support for Office 2013 will end – but more importantly, from October 2023, the ability to access services for Microsoft 365 from Microsoft Office 2016 and 2019 ends. Exchange Online can then no longer be used, for example.


I've already been alerted to the issue by a reader this week, which is touched on here but disclosed by Microsoft in the July 25, 2022 Techcommunity article Office and Microsoft 365 Apps Deployment & Update Management 2022. Microsoft's Jeremy Chapman answers key questions about Office and Microsoft 365 app deployment and maintenance in the article.

Access to MS 365 services ends October 2023

The article linked above discusses many topics. The most important thing for administrators and users of Microsoft Office 2016 and 2019 products, which are still in support for a longer period of time, is what will happen to access to Microsoft 365 services. Microsoft is promoting the move away from on-premises solutions to the cloud. Many a company has hopped on Microsoft 365 and used Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

But those who have Microsoft Office 2016 and Microsoft Office 2019 in use will experience an unpleasant surprise from October 2023. The relevant passage in the above article reads:

Importantly, Office 2016 & 2019 won't be supported for connecting to Microsoft 365 services, including Exchange Online, starting Oct 2023. And Security updates for Office 2013 will end in April 2023. Don't wait until the last minute – now is a great time to upgrade.

Users will no longer be able to access Exchange Online (probably also SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business) from these Office versions or applications.

Jeremy Chapman from Microsoft doesn't give a real reason and details – the bottom line is that the article is even an imposition in my eyes. The Microsoft employee texts people in a video about all the things you can do with new versions of Microsoft 365. At the end, Microsoft has the audacity to add a long video transcript without period in the article – but ultimately rambles on the subject of connecting with Microsoft 365 services instead of clearly stating horse and rider with details in a few points.

The quintessence of the rambling has been pointed out much more clearly by Redmond Magazine in the article Office 2016 and Office 2019 To Lose Microsoft 365 Connections Next Year. There it says that Microsoft stopped adding cloud services enhancements to its older Office clients almost two years ago, on October 13, 2020. They also reference an older article from 2018 there that says only Office 2019 or Office 365 ProPlus clients will support connections to Office 365 services (OneDrive, Outlook and Skype for Business) during main stream support. This is exactly what will occur in October 2023 – and I fear there will be some nasty surprises. Well, Microsoft won't block sync actively, but users may facing suddenly issues and then there is no more support.


Use Microsoft Office 2021

Further specification can be found in the Microsoft document 365 Additional information about connectivity to Microsoft 365 services, where Microsoft states that versions of Office LTSC 2021 will support connectivity to Microsoft 365 (and Office 365) services until October 2026. As detailed in the blog post Office 2021 arrives Oct. 5, 2021, Office LTSC just released, Office 2021 LTSC will only get a support period of five years. This brings Microsoft's support period in line with the five years of support for Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC (see Windows 10 LTSC: Next version with reduced 5 years support).

Final thoughts

Microsoft Office 2016 may have fallen out of mainstream support on October 13, 2020, according to this Microsoft page, so it will no longer get bug fixes. But Extended Support, up to which security updates come, doesn't end until October 14, 2025. For Office 2019, this Microsoft page states that Mainstream Support ends on October 10, 2023, but Extended Support also goes until October 14, 2025.

And just in October 2023, when mainstream support for Office 2019 ends, Redmond changes something about its Microsoft 365 services so that on-premises Office 2016/2019 products can no longer access those services. The only option left for companies and people who are using the cloud is to move to Office 2021 or Office 365 or Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

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