Microsoft expanding Office 2016 availability to more Office 365 subscription types

Kareem Anderson

Most Office 365 customers users are put on a fast track of updates and security patches that mirror Microsoft’s Software as a Service model for its other product, Windows 10. In exchange for ditching the traditional model of one-time license purchases, Office 365 customers agree to pay a monthly or yearly subscription for the Office suite of apps coupled with regular maintenance, routinely added features, and constant security updates.

With that being said, Microsoft began rolling out its update to its Office suite called Office 2016, roughly at the end of summer 2015. At the time, most Office 365 subscription types were able to get the update, but a handful of customers were left out of the update loop. Specfically, while ‘regular’ or Current Branch subscriptions, including Home, Personal, and new business customers, are set to automatically receive the Office 2016 updated apps, Office 365 ProPlus subscriptions held by Enterprise, Mid-Size, and Educational sectors only get updates three times a year.

Recently, ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley reported that the company is finally getting around to expanding the availability of the productivity suite to those outlying customers. According to Foley, Office 365 ProPlus subscription customers should begin receiving updates to their Office apps that are in line with the release of Office 2016. Microsoft’s plan to update ProPlus or what it now calls the Deferred Channel (formerly the Current Branch for Business), three times a year, begins this February 2016 with a new set of updates that should bring these customers in line with the company’s Office 2016 roadmap.

With a little bit of help from their office administrator, Office ProPlus customers should see the update rolling out to their devices during the remainder of February. Microsoft is sensitive to customers who may not yet want the update, and is thus allowing admins to block the update through their Office Deployment Tools or Group Policy and the Update Path policy settings.

Thanks Nicholas for the tip!