Dear Jamf Nation,
I'm just trying to spread awareness to an issue that may come to effect you in your organization. Paul Bowden @pbowden who works on the Microsoft Office for Mac team is seeking feedback from customers. He posted the following on the MacAdmins Slack:
Hey all ...we could do with some input here. @schwieb and I are hoping to meet with the 'Powers That Be' tomorrow and see if we can negotiate a better macOS support story going forward. The base assumption going in, is that 10.12 or later is the minimum OS required for Office 2019 VL/Retail, and for continuing to receive new O365 features after 16.16. Also, 2016 VL users, and any O365 users on < 10.12 will simply get 16.16.x updates (mainly security related) until mainstream support runs out in October 2020. We think that's a fair deal, so we're not going to use negotiation time to change this. The Powers That Be have mandated that we actively deprecate (read: block) support for older macOS versions as time moves forward, so we're not left in this situation we are now of awkwardly supporting macOS versions dating back several years. The current plan of record is that we will support the in-market version of macOS (currently 10.13), and the previous release (10.12). You also know that in the next couple of months, those numbers will change as Apple releases Mojave. The current negotiated position is that our min OS requirement will bump to 10.13 and later in January. Your previous feedback on this topic hasn't gone unheard, and the looming question from our management will be "What would be an acceptable time to drop support for 10.12?" Here's the bit where we need your help .....from my point of view, it doesn't seem viable to evaluate this decision month to month, and when the overall market share dips below X%, we pull the trigger. My guess is that you want something a little more predictable, not least, from a planning perspective. A lot of you are probably thinking "just snap to N-2 and follow Apple's track record". For the sake of argument, let's say that the Powers That Be don't accept that argument. Given that we want to represent the community here, what should our fallback negotiating position be? Is it something like "tell me as soon as you can, but you need to give me 6 months of notice?" or something else?Again, we really appreciate your candid feedback, and it goes a long way to helping us be the voice for you all. Of course, we can't promise miracles and keep 100% of people happy, but let's see what we can negotiate here. As well as commenting in the channel, feel free to email me your thoughts (p b o w d e n @ m i c r o s o f t DOT com ) if you don't mind me sharing them with the Powers That Be. Thanks!
He could really use our feedback. If you're not already a part of the MacAdmins Slack, you can join it at http://macadmins.org and join the #microsoft-office channel.
However you might also be able to post here and he should hopefully see it too. I'm going to share a link to this discussion with him. And he can also respond given that he's a Jamf Nation member.
Another important thing to note: Microsoft collects telemetry data on which operating systems are being used for Office for Mac. If your organization is currently disabling telemetry through Configuration Profiles or other means, then Microsoft does not know what OS is being used to run Office for Mac. You're essentially taking away potential valuable data from them.
Now, I know this is pretty late notice. He only posted it himself 3 hours ago on Slack. But I'm hoping that perhaps between now and when he has his meeting with the Powers That Be that there will be some more feedback for him to provide.
At the very least, if you can, share your opinion. Even better, would be if you can share the size of your fleet and a breakdown of operating systems (whether detailed or in general terms). I understand not everyone will be willing to share such information but any piece of info helps. I've already shared my dissatisfaction with this N-1 support change.
Feel free to tweet this change or share it on other social media to raise awareness.