It may seem like a long way away, but Microsoft's Office 2007 products are hitting their end of support dates in 2017.
For larger enterprise shops which, in the past, have been able to extend support a bit longer with a custom contract as part of their Premier status, there's a new wrinkle next year. Microsoft will not be offering this group custom support agreements as in the past.
I heard about the no more custom support for Office 2007 on-premises client and server products from a reader and a Microsoft spokesperson has confirmed it -- attributing the change to growth in Office 365 subscriptions.
Here's the statement acknowledging the change from a company spokesperson:
"The Office 2007 wave of products will be reaching end of support over the next 12 months, as per Microsoft Lifecycle Policy. After those end of support dates, we will no longer offer custom support on any version of Office products (Exchange Server; Office Suites; SharePoint Server; Office Communications Server; Lync Server; Skype for Business Server; Project Server and Visio).
"In the past we have offered custom support for a subset of Office products to customers with Premier support contracts. We have seen demand for custom support decline as more customers move to Office 365. Note that this change applies only to custom support, but does not impact any of the standard support offerings.
"As always, customers should consult with their account manager regarding their individual migration plans, and may consider services such as Software Assurance Deployment & Planning Services for on-premises upgrades, and Microsoft FastTrack for cloud migrations.
Extended, free support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 with Service Pack 3 is set to end in April 2017. Support for Office 2007 with Service Pack 3 is slated to end next October.
In the on-premises Microsoft software world, mainstream support is the typically five-year period when Microsoft provides free patches and fixes, including but not limited to security updates, for its products. When a product exits the mainstream support phase, Microsoft continues to provide a period (also typically five years) of extended support, which means users get free security fixes but other types of updates are paid and require specific licensing deals.
"End of support" means there will be no more fixes or patches -- paid or free, security or non-security -- coming for specific products. Up until now, Microsoft has allowed Premier support customers to get around this by paying for pricey custom support contracts, provided that they could show they had a specific plan to migrate to a newer version of a product. (See this example of Windows Server 2003 custom support agreements.)
Although it's not mentioned in Microsoft's official statement, I've heard there still might be a bit of an extension for Premier customers on Exchange 2007 with Service Pack 3.
I've heard approved Premier customers still on the 2007 release of Exchange might be able to request a one-time free six-month extension that would let them get critical security updates between April 2017 and October 2017. But it is sounding like after October 2017, the Microsoft 2007 wave of Office client and server products won't be getting security updates any longer.