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Microsoft shortchanges Office for Mac customers on support

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 24, 2015
Preserves the policy that gives Mac users five years of support, not the 10 awarded to Windows customers.

Although Microsoft does not make an enterprise-class Office suite for Mac, the more expensive Office Home & Business 2016 for the Mac is aimed at office workers, as it includes the Outlook email client, a staple in business. The support shortfall is most glaring for that $230 SKU (stock-keeping unit).

And Microsoft's push on Office 365, which touts not only rights to run Office 2016 on Windows but also on Apple's OS X, makes the policy nonsensical: Office 365 has been widely adopted by corporations, which have increasingly moved to support Macs, whether company-issued or worker-owned.

Office 365 subscribers, of course, may not be affected by the support shortage, as long as they continue to maintain the subscription, because Microsoft will presumably refresh the Mac suite for those customers.

Yet with the emphasis on Office 365 as the delivery vehicle for Office, there's no guarantee that Microsoft will continue to sell one-time, perpetual SKUs. Microsoft told customers months ago that it would do so for Office 2016, but not surprisingly, has made no follow-up pledge for the version after that. If it does decide to continue the practice, users should not expect an announcement for two years or more.

Thus Office 2016 could be the final non-Office 365 edition of the 25-year-old bundle.

If so, it's unreasonable to expect that Microsoft will provide endless support for Office 2016 for Mac, even though the line "2 years after the successor product is released" may hint at such. Instead, Microsoft will just rewrite the rules, as it's recently done with other products, notably older versions of Internet Explorer.

That will likely leave one-time Mac SKUs, like Home & Student and Home & Business, sans support.

In five years, not 10.


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