Microsoft is planning a major expansion for Office 365 this year, taking it from around 150 markets, to a further 97 markets over the next twelve months. Its productivity platform continues to improve, with new features and tools being added every month - but as new additions are brought in, Microsoft also needs to deprecate older features and services that have been superseded by newer ones.
Today, Microsoft outlined upcoming Office 365 service changes that will affect some organizations and those who manage their IT infrastructure. While many of these revisions were originally signalled to admins some time ago, Microsoft is drawing attention to them now as some "may require admin action" to ensure that their organizations are prepared for the changes, before they come into effect.
Five major changes have been detailed on the TechNet blog post, but Microsoft says that "updates will be made to [the] post as new service changes are announced".
Office 365 ProPlus 2013 Availability & Supportability
Action Required by: February 28, 2017
Details: Office 2016 is the recommended version of Office 365 ProPlus and includes all the latest upgrades and new features. As we announced in September 2015, when we released Office 2016, beginning March 1, 2017, the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus will no longer be available for installation from the Office 365 portal. Beginning March 1, 2017, your users will no longer see Office 2013 as an option for download through the Office 365 portal, and admins will no longer have the option under Software download settings in the admin portal to choose to enable Office 2013. In addition, we will no longer provide feature updates for this version, nor provide support. We recommend you install Office 2016 as soon as possible to have the latest and greatest features and support.
Message Center: MC81842 – Removing the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus
Posted: October 19, 2016
Additional Information: KB3199744: Support for the 2013 versions of Office 365 ProPlus ends February 28, 2017
Project Online requirements are changing
Action Required by: February 28, 2017
Details: Beginning February 28, 2017, Project Online will require the latest version of Project to connect to Office 365. We are making architectural changes to features in Project Online which impact older versions of Project, connecting to Project Online. If you are using Project 2016, you need to be on a supported build to connect to Project Online. For Project Professional 2016 customers, the RTM build (16.0.4266.1000) is the minimum build. For Office 365 customers using the Project Online Desktop Client (the subscription version of Project Professional 2016), you need to be on the previous Deferred Channel build (currently build 16.0.6741.2088) or any other build that is more recent. If you are using any prior version of Project, you will encounter issues connecting to Project Online. This change will not affect you if you are not connecting to Project Online. Make sure you’ve upgraded to a supported Project 2016 build, by February 28, 2017, to continue connecting to Project Online without interruption.
Message Center: MC89200 – Project Online requirements are changing
Posted: December 19, 2016
Additional Information: Using Project Online? Time to be sure you upgrade the client software
SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away
Action Required by: March 31, 2016 at 5:59 PM UTC
Details: As we originally communicated in March 2015, new Office 365 subscription plans no longer include the SharePoint Online public website feature. We notified Office 365 customers who currently use this feature could continue using this feature for a minimum of two years. Beginning March 2017, existing SharePoint Online organizations may no longer have access to the public website feature. You are receiving this message because our reporting indicates your organization has the SharePoint Online public website feature available. Beginning March 2017, your customers may no longer have access to your public website. In January 2017, we will have a process in place allowing you to postpone the removal of your SharePoint Online public website. We will communicate again in January, via Message Center, with more details. Alternative public website solutions from industry leaders are now available, and you should begin investigating these alternatives to integrate your public presence within the Office 365 environment.
Message Center: MC88504 – SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away
Posted: December 9, 2016
Additional Information: Learn about partner website hosting and public websites in Office 365
Active Directory Synchronization (DirSync) Deprecation
Action Required by: April 4, 2017
Details: We will be removing the Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization feature from Office 365, beginning April 4, 2017. You are receiving this message because our reporting indicates your organization is using Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization. When this change is implemented, administrators will no longer be able to synchronize their Active Directories. Instead of using Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization, use Azure Active Directory Connect.
Message Center: MC45036 – We are removing Windows Azure Active Directory Synchronization from Office 365
Posted: April 13, 2016
RPC over HTTP Deprecation
Action Required by: October 31, 2017 at 5:59 PM UTC
Details: On October 31st, 2017, Exchange Online mailboxes in Office 365 will require connections from Outlook for Windows use MAPI over HTTP, our new method of connectivity and transport between Outlook for Windows and Exchange. In May of 2014, Microsoft introduced MAPI over HTTP as a replacement for RPC over HTTP. RPC over HTTP was a legacy connection protocol that is being deprecated from Exchange Online. Beginning October 31, 2017, Outlook for Windows clients using RPC over HTTP will be unable to access their Exchange Online mailbox. The necessary action depends on the version of Outlook in use in your organization. If you are using Outlook 2007 or earlier, you need to upgrade. Outlook 2007 does not contain support for the MAPI/HTTP protocol. We encourage you to update to the Office 365 ProPlus subscription, or access Outlook via the web browser (which is included in your current subscription plan). Outlook 2010-2016 customers will need to ensure their version of Outlook for Windows is set up to support MAPI/HTTP. At a minimum, you should ensure you have installed the December 2015 update. Lastly, ensure your Outlook clients are not using a registry key to block MAPI/HTTP.
Message Center: MC85988 – Potential service disruption for Outlook for Windows users
Posted: November 16, 2016
Additional Information: KB3201590: RPC over HTTP deprecated in Office 365 on October 31, 2017
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced new Office 365 features to support US Government Community Cloud Customers.
Source: Microsoft TechNet