Microsoft is speeding up delivery of new Microsoft 365 Apps features for new tenants starting in June

Microsoft also is adding a new update 'ring' called Enterprise Channel to its Microsoft 365 Apps (Office 365 ProPlus) line-up.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft


In March, Microsoft renamed Office 365 ProPlus to "Microsoft 365 Apps." On May 12, officials announced more changes on this front -- specifically, how and when Microsoft plans to roll out new features and updates for these apps.

Starting June 9, Microsoft is going to make "Current Channel" the default update channel for new Office 365 and Microsoft 365 tenants, rather than Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. There will be no change to the default update channels for existing tenants.

Because Microsoft officials seemingly cannot get enough of rebranding things lately, the Office update-ring names are getting makeovers, too. As of June 9, Microsoft is renaming the following channels: Office Insider channel becomes the Beta Channel

  • Monthly Channel (Targeted) becomes Current Channel (Preview)
  • Monthly Channel becomes Current Channel.
  • Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) becomes Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel (Preview).
  • Semi-Annual Channel becomes the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel

Microsoft also is introducing a new Monthly Enterprise channel, which is meant to give business users more control, insights and predictability in the delivery of new Office features as of this week (starting May 12).

I've asked officials if any similar branding or updating changes are coming to Windows 10. No word back yet. Update: Microsoft has nothing to share, a spokesperson said.

Going forward, Microsoft will have three primary update channels for Office: Current Channel, Monthly Enterprise Channel and Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel. Microsoft recommends users go with Current Channel because it provides users with the newest Office features the fastest. Monthly Enterprise Channel is for those who want predictability of when new Office features are made available to users each month. And for devices/scenarios where extensive in-house testing is required before applying new features, the Semi-Annual Enterprise Channel is the way to go.

Feature updates for Current Channel are delivered "as soon as they're ready," which means "usually" once a month, but on no set schedule. Monthly Enterprise Channel users get feature updates once a month on Patch Tuesday. And Semi-Annual Channel users get feature updates twice a year (January and July) on Patch Tuesday. Current Channel releases are supported only for about a month (until the next feature update happens). 

Here's Microsoft's matrix explaining how the three channels work: 

Credit: Microsoft

(Thanks to @rpodric for the heads up on these changes.)

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