April 21, 2017

RENT OUR SOFTWARE, OR ELSE: Microsoft will cut services to standalone Office users so they’ll subscribe to Office 365.

When Microsoft launched Office 365 in 2010, Microsoft officials said then that customers were asking to move to the cloud. Beginning in 2020, some Office customers will need to buy Office 365 to do so.

In an update to Microsoft’s Office 365 system requirements released on Thursday, Microsoft said that consumers who have already purchased “perpetual”—i.e., standalone—versions of Office, such as Office 2010, Office 2013, and Office 2016, would be cut off from accessing the business versions of OneDrive and Skype after mainstream support expires. Those who have purchases those Office suites will be allowed to connect until Oct. 13, 2020—the day mainstream support ends for Office 2016, and the day the new support policy kicks in.

This software-as-a-service business model is irksome. I’d rather pay for software upfront and then own it outright until I’m ready to upgrade. Having bought-and-paid-for software held for ransom is worse than irksome.