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Microsoft Products Reaching End-of-Life in 2025

It’s not that far away. 2025. That year (and into 2026) spells the end of some on-premises software and end-of-support dates. This could leave your organization with unsupported software. And if there are regulations imposed whereby that cannot be abided, then there’s some work to do.

However, some of the alternatives could be limiting – or, at least, more costly. Microsoft has increased its focus on subscriptions be they on-premise or cloud-based.

This blog intends to provide an overview of these products and some options for your organization.

If your organization is forced to choose between running unsupported software (assuming it can) and or transitioning to subscription-based software and services, which would be the more likely scenario? Certainly, upgrades must factor in: the time, the effort, and the return. And Unified Support (which is offered to Client based on the spend1) must be considered.

Windows Client and Windows Server

The move to Microsoft 365 Apps (see the section “Office” below) is likely to cause some other upgrades.

For example, while Microsoft will support Windows 10 (at least one release) through mid-October 2025, organizations will need to upgrade to Windows 11 in order to get ongoing support.

As another example, neither Windows Server 2016 nor Windows Server 2019 will support Microsoft 365 Apps after Office has terminated its Extended Support. Windows Server 2022? Well, that version won’t support Microsoft 365 Apps at all!

Organizations will have to choose either to:

  1. Continue to run Windows Server unsupported (for the purpose of hosting Microsoft 365 Apps); or,
  2. Transition these users to Microsoft 365 Apps (thick client) or Azure Virtual Desktop.

SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business Servers

SharePoint Server

When released in October 2018, SharePoint Server 2019’s Extended Support window was set at mid-July 2026 which coincides with SharePoint Server 2016.2

If your organization is running either SharePoint Server 2016 or SharePoint Server 2019, then it is faced with just three (3) choices:

  1. Continue to run the desktop suite unsupported (including security updates); or,
  2. Transition to SharePoint Online (and don’t forget any customizations); or,
  3. Upgrade to SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, which in installed on-premises, but carries a subscription fee.

If the plan is to continue to run the desktop suite unsupported (Number 1 above), be aware that both security issues as well as future compatibility issues could arise. Plus, if the user community has demonstrated a need for the features of newer software, they might be out of luck until it arrives.

If the plan is to Upgrade to SharePoint Server Subscription Edition (Number 3 above), be aware of the following:

  • This will compel your organization to fund a subscription (you might want to include that in your budget); and,
  • Your organization will only receive downgrade rights to SharePoint Server 2019; and,
  • Active Software Assurance is required and, should it be discontinued (including renewals), your organization must downgrade to the 2019 version and face a 2026 end of Extended Support window; and,
  • Without any fixed support dates, Microsoft can end support for the product a years’ notice. (This last point is something to bear in mind as SharePoint’s functionality has largely been dispersed among other products, including Microsoft Teams.)
Exchange Server

Both Exchange Server 2016 and Exchange Server 2019 have the very same end-of-Extended Support date: mid-October 2025.3

The newest release, ostensibly referred to as Exchange Server Subscription Edition (in keeping with that theme), will be released – again ostensibly – during the second half of 2025.

Organizations using Exchange Server will have to opt among four (4) choices:

  1. Continue to run the desktop suite unsupported (including security updates); or,
  2. Transition to Exchange Online; or,
  3. Upgrade to Exchange Server Subscription Edition when available (with subscription payments); or,
  4. Migrate to a third-party solution (but often with subscription payments).

Opting for continuing to run the desktop suite unsupported (Number 1 above) is fraught with risk. Exchange Server is public-facing. And there has been attacks against these servers and this software, including malware and ransomware.4 And Microsoft itself offers few on-premise security tools providing protection for Exchange Server.

The choice between transitioning to Exchange Online (Number 2 above) and upgrading to Exchange Server Subscription Edition (Number 3 above) is a function of your organization’s technical capability as well as software compatibility. If your organization is considering transitioning to Exchange Online, it will want to account for retaining on-premise Exchange Server to, say, support a process flow application or an approval application.

Now, upgrading to Exchange Server Subscription Edition could be easier than transitioning to Exchange Online, but it carries subscription fee and will not be available until the second half of 2025. This might cause some inconveniences for both the technical team and the finance team. That is, the struggle of upgrading rather quickly combined with the likelihood (like SharePoint) of required Software Assurance.

Skype for Business Server

If your organization has standardized on Skype for Business Server, it will want to be aware that both Skype for Business Server 2015 and  Skype for Business Server 2019 will terminate Extended Support in mid-October 2025.5

Because the aforementioned Microsoft Teams being the focus, a planned late 2021 release date for Skype for Business Server 2022 has been scrubbed. For now, the plan is to stay on the current version (or upgrade to Skype for Business Server 2019) until Microsoft announces its intentions.

Office

Turning to the Application Pool…

Office 2016, which was released in September 2015, adhered to the Microsoft support policy of five years of Mainstream support followed by five years of Extended support (which was once the default for many, if not all, Microsoft products).

By contrast, Office 2019, which was released in September 2018, enjoys an abbreviated Extended support period of just two (2) years.

Both of these will reach the end of Extended Support in mid-October 2025.

So your organization must make one of the following four (4) choices:

  1. Continue to run the desktop suite unsupported (including security updates); or,
  2. Transition Office users to Microsoft 365 Apps (thick clients); or,
  3. Migrate to a third-party solution (but often with subscription payments); or,
  4. Upgrade to Office 2021 Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), which is perpetually licensed, but comes with caveats:
    1. Only one (1) additional year of support, through mid-October 2026; and,
    2. That is only when running on Windows 11 (or Windows Server 2022).

Be aware, though, that Microsoft has a policy that Office 365 services (SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, etc.) that guarantees compatibility with Office software under Mainstream support. While Office 2016 and Office 2019 will still be supported6, future modifications may cause these products to become incompatible prior to their Extended Support window expiring.

Conclusion

Upgrading to subscription-based software is by no means an easy decision. And despite Microsoft’s continued push to the cloud, your organization must be comfortable with having a level of control removed. Lack of support and/or incompatibilities and/or company policies or regulations may force your organization’s hand, however. So it’s time to weight these factors and consider these changes carefully.

Miro suggests that your organization consider upgrading these deployments so as to minimize the efforts in 2025 (and beyond). Miro also suggests that the organization be both financially and technically ready for subscription-based software and services.

Contact Miro, your trusted software licensing advisor, for more information.


1 Microsoft applies a rate to your historical annual IT spend by product class, called Product Spend (P). Your “P” is comprised of a) the previous 12-months of cloud services purchases; b) all license-only purchases made in the last 60 months; and, c) the previous 12-months of Software Assurance purchases. Rates are graduated from as high as 10% to as low as 1.75% for Azure. There are different ranges for other product classes.

2 SharePoint Server 2013 is in Extended Support, which ends in April 2023.

3 Exchange Server 2013 is already in Extended Support, which ends in April 2023.

4 Malwarebytes’ blog on on-premises Exchange Server deployments.

5 Skype for Business Server 2015 is already in Extended Support.

6 Note that while Office 2019 is still in Mainstream Support, Office 2016 has already entered Extended Support.

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