Microsoft Aligns Office and Windows 10 Feature Release Schedules, Now 'Twice a Year'

Microsoft aligning servicing models for Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus and SCCM for customers, particularly those with Secure Productive Enterprise. Offline books for Visual Studio 2017.

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Office 365 ProPlus, which delivers cloud-connected and always up-to-date versions of Microsoft's most valuable enterprise apps—received three important updates: "changes to Office 365 system requirements," "improvements to ProPlus update model, including alignment with Windows 10." And, new tools and programs to manage ProPlus application compatibility.

Going forward, Microsoft is making planning and managing updates for both Office and Windows easier for customers using Secure Productive Enterprise. To this end, both Office 365 ProPlus and Windows 10 update model will aligned in September 2017:

Microsoft will start delivering twice-per-year feature release schedule to Office 365 ProPlus, and will now deliver "semi-annual" targeted for March and September of each year. "The next Windows 10 feature update will be targeted for September 2017," said the team.

The support period for feature release extends to 18 months, so that update can be done "once or twice a year"— starting from first release.

In addition, System Center Configuration Manager will now support this new aligned update model making it easier to deploy and update the two products together.

The following new tools and programs are released today, to help customers manage Office 365 ProPlus application compatibility:

  • A limited preview of new Upgrade assessment tools, will now catalogue all add-ins and VBA solutions in use, identify potential issues with upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus, and recommend steps for remediation.
  • Application compatibility testing of the most common third-party add-ins, will be performed with each new Office 365 ProPlus release to identify potential issues, and take steps to remediate.
  • Office 365 ProPlus monitoring services will monitor ProPlus deployment and will provide visibility into usage and stability of apps and add-ins.
  • Reporting, tracking and resolving application compatibility issues—and partner with customers and ISVs to find the best approach to remediation.

Microsoft is also updating system requirements for Office 365 subscription:

Starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services.

Applies to Office 365 commercial services only—"Office perpetual clients, Office perpetual clients connecting to on-premises servers, or any consumer services" will not effected.

More than three years' notice for IT to plan and budget for this change.

Microsoft says, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services, by 2020 when this requirement goes into effect.

New offline books for Visual Studio 2017 are now available to easily download content published on MSDN and Docs for consumption on the go, without needing an active internet connection.

In addition, to usual developer content such as books covering Visual C#, Visual F# and others, the following new content are added to the list, including:

  • ASP.NET Core
  • ASP.NET API Reference
  • NuGet
  • Scripting Language Reference
Visual Studio 2017 Offline Books Help Viewer
Visual Studio 2017 Offline Books Help Viewer

April 2017 edition of Windows developer evaluation virtual machines (VM) on Windows Dev Center released to download come in "Hyper-V, Parallels, VirtualBox and VMWare flavors."

The evaluation version will expire on 07/07/17.

These evaluation VM contain:

  • Windows 10 Creators Update – Enterprise Evaluation, Version 1703
  • Visual Studio 2017 with the Universal Windows Platform (15063 SDK) and Azure workflows enabled
  • Windows UWP samples (March 2017 Update)
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux

Get them on Dev Center.