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Mac Office 2011 support to conk out on 10 October

Image: IDGNS

20 June 2017

Office for Mac 2011 users have just over 100 days to replace the suite’s applications with those from last year’s upgrade, Office for Mac 2016.

Support ends for Office for Mac 2011 on 10 October, a date that Microsoft first stamped on the calendar two years ago, but has not widely publicised since. As of that date, Redmond will cease supplying patches for security vulnerabilities or fixes for other bugs.

The individual applications – Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Word – will continue to operate after support ends, but will be at risk from security threats.

Office for Mac 2011’s end-of-support deadline was originally slated for January 2016, approximately five years after the productivity package’s release. But in the summer of 2015, when it was clear that 2011’s successor would not be ready by early 2016, Microsoft extended its lifespan by 21 months. At the time, Microsoft cited the long-standing policy of supporting a to-be-retired product for “two years after the successor product is released” when it added time to 2011.

Mac users: Steerage Class
The impending cutoff for Office for Mac 2011 is an issue only because Microsoft shortchanges Office for Mac users. Unlike the Windows version of Office, which receives 10 years of security support, those that run on macOS are allotted half that. Microsoft has repeatedly classified Office for Mac as a consumer product to justify the half-measure, even for the edition labelled ‘Home and Business’.

Nor does Microsoft update and service Office for Mac for corporate customers as it does the far more popular Windows SKU (stock-keeping unit). The latter will be upgraded with new features, Microsoft said in April, twice each year for enterprise subscribers to Office 365 ProPlus, with each release supported for 18 months before giving way to a pair of successors.

Mac editions, however, are refreshed with new tools at irregular intervals, often long after the same feature debuts in the same Windows application. (Recently, for example, Microsoft added a delivery-and/or-read receipt option to the Mac version of Outlook – that functionality has been in Outlook on Windows since 2013.) And because there are no regular, large-scale feature upgrades to Office for Mac, support is not curtailed by the release schedule as with Windows.

The difference between Offices on PC and Mac has been put into even starker relief recently. Microsoft has adopted March and September dates for launching new upgrades to Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus, and last week, Windows Server, but made no similar promises for Office for Mac 2016.

IDG News Service

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