Microsoft to End Office on Demand for Office 365 in November

Microsoft to End Office on Demand for Office 365 in November

Microsoft has upset some of its customer base following an announced plan to end Office on Demand for its Office 365 software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering.

A recent decision by Microsoft (MSFT) to end what some are calling a "disruptive change" is irking a handful of people in the Twitterverse, but the Redmond-based company seems unphased because of alternatives its customers can use, according to an article from Redmond Magazine.

The gist of the story is Microsoft is ending the Office on Demand feature for Office 365 as of November—something announced on the Microsoft forums in mid-August but has only gained attention in the last few days.

Office on Demand is a feature of Office 365 ProPlus and "provided users the option to download and temporary install the Office desktop applications," according to the Microsoft update in the forums. The feature enables end users to access Office applications via kiosk or desktop where the latest version of Office has not been installed.

The disappearance of the feature will no doubt have an impact on many Office 365 ProPlus customers, but some are considering this a disruptive change, meaning Microsoft should be providing 12 months' notice of the functionality coming to an end.

Rob Helm, vice president of indepdent consultancy Directions on Microsoft, wrote in a Twitter update: "Seems like less than the 12 months notice promised for disruptive change." Helm was responding to a tweet by Wes Miller, research vice president at Directions on Microsoft, who discovered the forum post posted about it on Twitter.

According to Redmond Magazine, Microsoft disagrees about the disruptive nature of removing the feature. The website quoted a response from a Microsoft spokesperson: "As you'll see in Microsoft's online services lifecycle policy, disruptive change is defined as meaning 'when a customer or administrator is required to take action in order to avoid significant degradation to the normal operation of the Online Service.' In the case of Office on Demand, Office Online delivers credible functionality as an alternative, so there was no significant degradation of normal Office 365 operations and no need for customer action."

Microsoft also indicated that the feature is also largely ignored by the vast majority of its users, as only 2 percent of Office 365 even use the Office on Demand feature. For that 2 percent and the partners that support them, this change may be something to fret over, but for most, the elimination of the feature will go unnoticed.

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