Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What every Office 365 admin should know about supported Outlook versions

Working with customers that are beginning to consume Office 365 services I see a lot of confusion about whether their old Office version should work with Office 365. Especially when we’re talking Office 2010 or even 2007. What certainly not helps is that Microsoft restructured their Office 365 documentation in such a manner that it is hard to find all relevant information.

The general Office 365 for Business requirements states the following:

Make sure that your Office clients are compatible with Office 365. Office 365 works with any version of Office in mainstream support: the latest version of Office, Office 2013, and Office 2011 for Mac. Previous versions of Office clients, such as Office 2010 and Office 2007, may work with Office 365 with reduced functionality.

The requirements for Exchange Online are more restrictive and definitely clearer, although they are hidden in the Exchange 2016 system requirements page:

Exchange 2016 and Exchange Online support the following versions of Outlook:

  • Outlook 2016
  • Outlook 2013
  • Outlook 2010 with KB2965295
  • Outlook for Mac for Office 365
  • Outlook for Mac 2011

Outlook clients earlier than Outlook 2010 are not supported. Email clients on Mac operating systems that require DAV, such as Entourage 2008 for Mac RTM and Entourage 2004, are not supported.

So your users are still on an older Outlook 2010 build without SP2 and the April 15, 2014 update? Not supported. Outlook 2007? Not supported. From experience I can tell that these requirements are not a joke, your users will not be able to connect to Exchange Online with Outlook 2010 RTM. Another customer saw Outlook 2007 crashing after moving the mailboxes to Exchange Online and was able to work-around this by removing the language pack.

So if we like it or not, consuming a cloud service equals losing control about what client software you’re using. It’s the cloud provider that dictates the supported versions and when they think you should upgrade. That brings me to the final point, that these requirements not static and change over time. So make sure you visit the sources regularly to see of there have been updates.

1 comment:

Todd Nelson said...

Jetze, thanks for pointing this out.

To me, it's unfortunate but a reality that "extended support" means out of support with Office 365. Therefore, "may work" does not equal supported. It's a definitive line in the sand.