Windows 7 End of Support and Office 365 ProPlus

Extending our recent notice to customers, we are sharing with our wider audiences, Microsoft’s flag that Windows 7 will be out of support after January 14, 2020.

Because Office 365 is governed by the Modern Lifecycle Policy, customers are required to stay current as per the servicing and system requirements for the product or service.    This includes using Office 365 ProPlus on a Windows operating system that is currently in support.

Using Office 365 ProPlus on older, unsupported operating systems may cause performance and reliability issues over time.

Recommended Action

If your organisation is using Office 365 ProPlus on devices running Windows 7, Microsoft strongly recommend your organisation move those devices to Windows 10.

What is the impact?

Even though Windows 7 will no longer be supported after January 2020, Microsoft understand Office 365 customers may need more time in their migration to a supported operating system. Through January 2023, Microsoft will provide security updates for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows 7. But, importantly, during that time, as long as the device is still running Windows 7, Office 365 ProPlus won’t receive any new feature updates.

How can I prepare?

We recommend that organisations migrate to Windows 10 or a supported operating system before the end of support date on January 14, 2020 in order to continue receiving new feature updates to Office 365 ProPlus.

Note:

This information also applies to Office 365 Business which is included in business plans such as M365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium, and to desktop versions of Project and Visio.

For free and confidential initial advice on dealing with this please speak to one of our Sales team on Tel: 02380 429429 to start this conversation.

 

 

The Microsoft Sim for Windows 10

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Getting online on your PC or Microsoft tablet, outside a WiFi area may get easier soon with the new Windows Store listing called ‘Cellular Data’ by Microsoft.   The app is only designed to work with specific  Windows 10 devices and requires a Microsoft Sim.  The app details advise that you will be connect with and pay for a mobile data plan using your Microsoft account for payment, with no long term commitments.

This approach sounds similar to Apple’s with recent iPads, with an Apple Sim you can choose your network carrier on the device and choose a short-term rolling contract. So far the Apple Sim is limited to just the company’s iPad with no plans to date to bring the sim to its phones and laptops.

The safe bet is that the ‘specific Windows 10 devices’ mentioned in Microsoft’s store listing is referring to its own hardware like the Surface 3, which does come with a Sim card slot for LTE access and other future Surface devices with sim card slots. This would let consumers and businesses buy-in Surfaces from Microsoft and then decide later, commitment free which network carrier and tariffs to choose and on which devices.

The other, less safe, but more interesting bet is that in addition to Microsoft’s own hardware, the support for this app and service spans OEMs. So for example, an HP or Lenovo laptop or tablet could also come with Microsoft Sims, letting even more consumers and businesses take advantage of opting-in to mobile data as and when needed. Of course this would be a much more complex relationship between Microsoft and OEMs. If Microsoft didn’t want to cut OEM’s into a % of data plan profits they could offer one-off payments per Microsoft Sim shipped with device’s or simply offer Windows licencing discounts if Microsoft Sims are included with their laptops and tablets.

Whether we see the Microsoft Sim locked down to its own hardware or not, its presence still offers up some much needed flexibility and competition for mobile data users in the Microsoft ecosystem.

At the very least we would be surprised if we don’t see an announcement for an alternative Surface Pro 4 with cellular compatibility and a Microsoft Sim in the box in future.

Lots to shout about at Microsoft’s Autumn NY Windows 10 event

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This week Microsoft held its Windows 10 device event showcasing their latest and greatest for both consumers and enterprise.

• The event kick started with their entertainment platform Xbox, with Windows 10 coming to Xbox One later this year. It brings improved user experience, performance and the ability to run their previous generation of software which has been their most requested feature since launch.

• Next was a new HoloLens demo: the presenter used a new hand held controller whilst wearing the device and battled augmented reality robots live on stage. Visually this was very impressive for an untethered device (ie. Not connected to a PC).  After this the development kit was announced for Q1 2016 with a price tag of $3000.

• The focus then was on fitness with the unveiling of Microsoft Band 2. The new band features a sleeker design with curved screen and new Barometer which measures elevation for more accurate “caloric burn” readings.

• Multiple Microsoft phone announcements followed with the Lumia 550, 950 and 950XL. The two 950’s were the real attention grabbers and feature high performance with liquid cooling and twin antenna for greater connectivity.  Continuum (connecting Windows 10 phone to keyboard and screen through a dock + mouse to use as a PC.  USB memory sticks and hard drives can also be used and in this mode the interface looks and feels like any other PC, at the same time the phone can still be used as a phone.

• From phones to tablets, Surface was next. The Surface Pro 4 us announced with a larger screen, without increasing the size of the device, thanks to smaller bezels. The new Surface is also thinner, more powerful and with better battery life.  Also included is a more advanced stylus with 1-year battery and a new improved, but still optional keyboard with bigger trackpad, separated keys and a fingerprint scanner. These new accessories can also be used with last year’s Surface Pro 3.

• Next Microsoft borrowed the Apple “one more thing..” to announced a new product entirely called the Surface Book. This device is a premium laptop, which you can also rip the screen off to use as a tablet. The base also contains additional computing and graphic processing adding up to 2x the performance of a Mac Book Pro.

All in all, Microsoft announced a lot this week in New York and won the attention and rare applause of their sceptical industry audience . Microsoft is now selling a very compelling ecosystem of not just software and services but also hardware tailored to both. It has a tremendous battle ahead with its rivals, but they have certainly put their best foot forwards to bring genuine intrigue and excitement which was arguably lacking from many recent tech events by Microsoft, Google and Apple.

Windows 8.1 dethrones XP just before Windows 10 launch

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Windows XP, released back in October 2001 has finally been dethroned from its ‘2nd most popular computer OS’ title by Windows 8.1 now holding 13.12% market share. The most used OS will come as no surprise being Windows 7 which currently holds a commanding 60.89%

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in April of 2014 so it holding the ‘2nd most popular computer OS’ title for over a year after this date is both impressive and worrying. Whilst it is worth pointing out paid extended support on specific XP versions is still available to organisations willing to spend the cash required, these exceptions are unlikely to do much to market share numbers.

Running an unsupported OS is strongly unadvised against and using it will make you and your data much more susceptible to security threats and exploits which won’t be patched up with updates having been finished.

This news also comes in very close to the July 29th launch of Windows 10 and with the 2 most popular OS’s; Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 being eligible to free upgrades for consumers all signs point to Windows 8.1 dropping back down to 3rd soon after its launch being replaced by Windows 10.

Microsoft has also detailed this week that not all users will be eligible to download Windows 10 on launch day. First in line will be member of the Windows Insider program who will be able to upgrade from their work-in-progress version to the final version on the 29th. Next up will be users who have digitally reserved their free copy and these will be notified in waves. After this Microsoft will open up Windows 10 as a free download to all Windows 7 and 8.1 users however has not stated how long after launch this will be.

Apple’s iOS 9 update hints at a bigger iPads for the office

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This Monday Apple held their annual Worldwide Developer Conference announcing upcoming features and services across their devices.

Arguably the most interesting development was for the iPad, finally allowing true split-screen multitasking to the tablet.

Like many Apple updates the amount of functionality you will get will be depending on which model you own, with only the iPad Air 2 being deemed sufficient to run the full experience called Split View.

The new feature comes as part of iOS 9 and will allow iPad users to launch two Apps at the same time divided by a vertical split in a very similar vein to Windows tablets. iOS 9 also allows apps such as video to be displayed in a floating windows above your current app.

These new multitasking features will help further validate the use of iPads in businesses, being able to both check emails and edit a document at the same time.

Splitting your view does allow you to get more done but it does also make your workspaces smaller.

The announcement of Split View also gives credence to the much rumoured 12” iPad, this will allow the iPad to go toe-to-toe with Windows tablets and potentially squash their momentum with their own market share.

It is likely we will see a 12” iPad Pro launched within the next 12 months and similarities to this and the Surface Pro line will definitely be drawn. With both potentially having similar design and form factor the true battle will be between iOS 9 and Windows 10.

Whilst Microsoft has proven Surface can replace your laptop can Apple do the same for the iPad?

Windows as a Service as Windows 10 becomes the last launch for Microsoft

At last week’s Ignite conference, Microsoft’s developer staff were freely talking about some pretty substantial changes in the future direction of Windows.  It is likely that Windows 10 will be the last version of Windows to be released, as Microsoft moves firmly towards “Windows as a Service” fulfilment.

With the engineering and delivery of Windows changed for Windows 10, instead of new releases there will be regular improvements and updates of 10.  How it will work (whilst being a sizeable task), will see Microsoft splitting up operating system components like the Start Menu and built-in apps into separate parts. These can then be updated independently to the entire Windows core operating system.  This gives highly desirable flexibility to span across multiple devices and provide smoother background monthly updates instead of new version launches every 2-3 years.

The apps and services that power Windows 10 are nearing launch and the new version of Windows 10 is currently being trialled by a number of test participants.

All of this bodes well for Managed Service Providers as our embrace of “as a Service” packages makes moving to the Cloud increasingly convenient, smoother and more flexible for tailoring the end user experience.

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Microsoft adding MDM to Office 365

Microsoft has announced this week that Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities will be coming to all their Office 365 commercial plans – for no extra cost.

The new MDM features are focused around the Office apps for Android and iOS and will include setting security polices to allow only compliant devices to connect, Device Management to force pin lock requirements and jailbreak detection as well as selective wipe to remove just Office 365 data without remove a user personal information.    In addition to the above healthy package other extended features are also available if you subscribe to Microsoft Intune (part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite). These extended features include restricting clipboard features such as copy and paste and saving documents to other applications.    Microsoft is boasting its new mobile management suite is the only one that can fully manage its mobile Office apps.

With Office mobile apps being a natural consideration for organisations currently using Office on laptops and desktops – this play from Microsoft to both add additional control to organisations to protect their data ‘on the go’ and to make the service so reliant on their own Office 365 subscription is a smart one.

Managed Service Providers get to add their value here too, as Office 365 accounts can be fully or partially managed by a provider, whilst also offering local and around-the-clock support on both technical issues and emergency tasks such as wiping a lost phone.

It will be interesting to see how this develops with the imminent release of Windows 10 on both phones and small tablets – and where Microsoft will draw the line, if at all, on mobile and non-mobile devices and what is supported.

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