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Office 2016 adopts branches, update-or-else strategy of Windows 10

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 14, 2015
Enterprise subscribers to Office 365 get "Current Branch" and "Current Branch for Business" update and upgrade tracks.

The multiple update tracks Microsoft has outlined will only apply to Office 2016 within an Office 365 subscription, Miller said. Traditional licenses, dubbed "perpetual" in that once paid for they can be used for as long as desired, will not be able to adopt the CB or CBB. That's in keeping with Microsoft's long-running scheme to make Office 365 more attractive than perpetual licenses, whether purchased by consumers one at a time or by businesses in bulk, by virtue of its accelerated release schedule.

Office 2016's debut later this month will also start a clock on Office 2013 for Office 365 enterprise subscribers.

"You can continue to use and receive security updates for the Office 2013 version of Office 365 ProPlus for the twelve months after the release of Office 2016," Microsoft told users. "After 12 months, no additional security updates will be made available for the Office 2013 version. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you update to the Office 2016 version within the first twelve months that it's available."

The first CB of Office 2016 will be released Sept. 22, and the first CBB update will appear some time in February 2016. Microsoft has not yet set the price of individual perpetual licenses sold at retail, or even said whether those would go on sale this month: The company did not reply to questions about retail availability.

More information about the changes to Office's updating can be found on Microsoft's TechNet website.

Office 2016's update cadence
It's complicated: With the upcoming Office 2016, Office 365 business subscribers will be able to defer feature and functionality changes for up to eight months. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: Microsoft


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