I have seen some confusion in the social media circles around support for Windows XP and Office suite support.

First the easy one, Windows XP and Office 2003 will no longer be supported by Microsoft after April 8, 2014. How will this affect users on Windows XP who utilize Office 365? The short answer is it will not directly affect you. Microsoft will not be “Blocking” Windows XP machines from access Office 365 resources. But if you have an issue with connectivity or functionality, when you contact Microsoft for support the most likely first thing they will have you do is either upgrade your operating system or reproduce the error or issue on a workstation running Windows 7 or 8 (I joked with putting Vista in hear, but thought you would have all stopped reading). Support engineers will not proceed with troubleshooting an issue on a non-supported operating system. This is not an Office 365 support stance, but a stance you will find trying to getting any help for any issues resulting from running Windows XP past April 8th next year. My recommendation is to begin, hopefully you have already, planning to upgrade your workstations to Windows 7 or Windows 8. For the Office 2003 suite, it has not been supported for some time with Office 365, again hope if you are still running Office 2003 you have a plan to get your Office suite upgraded.

Now for the more tricky part. Office 2010 Pro Plus. While Office 2010 itself is and will continue to be supported to access Office 365 after April 8th of next year, the Office 2010 Pro Plus subscription as part of Office 365 needs to be upgraded to the Office 2013 Pro Plus version. Why, well it goes along the lines of subscribing to services and you the end user/company giving up some control of when, if and how your services and applications are going to be upgraded. I wrote a blog post a while ago about this. Basically when you agree to subscription based services you lose control of some things, for most companies this is ok, for some it is not. If you fall into the latter group then you need to rethink your overall company strategy. Back to Office 2010 Pro Plus, Microsoft has published a great FAQ about Office 2010 Pro Plus, I encourage you to read it, and I will summarize it here.

Microsoft needs to keep all of it customers of Cloud Services on relatively the same versions. The economies of scale prevent Microsoft, or any other cloud provider, from supporting multiple versions of software. The reason that Office 2010 Pro Plus will not be supported is not due to the Office 2010 suite, but do to the licensing aspects and infrastructure needed to maintain the licensing aspects of Pro Plus. In May of 2014 Microsoft will stop authentication for Office 2010 Pro Plus, users will receive an in-product notice that the license is expiring and have approximately 30 more days of full functionality. After that time the Office 2010 Pro Plus will go into Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM). RFM basically renders Office to be read only, see the FAQ for more information. If you choose not to upgrade to Office 2013 Pro Plus (which is included with your subscription as a whole and does not cost you anything additional to your monthly license cost) you will need to switch your clients to use a Volume License version of Office 2010.

To sum it up, if you are using Office 2010 Pro Plus as part of your Office 365 subscription, plan on upgrading to Office 2013 Pro Plus! The 2013 Office suite is a great upgrade and tightly integrates with Office 365.

Microsoft Support Lifecycle