This week at its Ignite 2019 conference, Microsoft announced that OneNote 2016 is being resurrected, after telling users for years that the desktop app is only in maintenance mode, and that we should all be using the UWP app, OneNote for Windows 10. Not only will the company be adding new features, but it will be installed by default with new Office installations beginning in March.
Because of this, many were wondering about the future of OneNote for Windows 10, and whether it will continue to be supported going forward. The short answer is that it will be, and that shouldn't change in the immediate future. Everyone I talked to about this agreed though, that it won't make sense to support two apps on the same platform forever.
Microsoft's official reason for bringing back OneNote 2016 is because it was listening to user feedback. Many were hesitant to move to the UWP app for some time, and it took time for the team to even get the two apps close to feature parity. Now, it seems that we have two apps that are better at different things.
After all, OneNote for Windows 10 has been receiving new features regularly for a while now, while OneNote 2016 was in maintenance mode. One area where the UWP app is certainly stronger is with inking features.
If the Redmond firm does kill off OneNote for Windows 10 at some point, it could be a blow to its credibility. As mentioned earlier, many were hesitant to make the switch from OneNote 2016, and there were pain points in the transition. After users sorted through all that and made OneNote for Windows 10 fit their work flow, asking them to switch back might be too much.
But that's looking too far into the future for now. As it stands, both products are supported, and if Microsoft decides to kill off one of them, there's no telling which one that will be.