Office 2019 Rollout Begins for Windows 10 and Mac — Redmond Channel Partner

New installers of Office 2019 on the Windows platform will get the OneNote for Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application by default, instead of the desktop version of OneNote, which is called "OneNote 2016." However, if an organization had used the OneNote 2016 desktop application and then upgraded to Office 2019, then they’ll retain OneNote 2016, according to Microsoft’s "FAQ About OneNote in Office 2019" document. Microsoft actually checks to see if the OneNote 2016 desktop application has been used. If it hasn’t been used, then organizations get the UWP app version instead when they install Office 2019.

Organizations can still opt to use the OneNote 2016 desktop app instead of the OneNote for Windows 10 app with Office 2019. They can add OneNote 2016 using the Office Deployment Tool, Microsoft explained in its "Deployment Guide for OneNote" document.

However, the OneNote 2016 product eventually will come to an end. OneNote 2016 will be supported through Oct. 14, 2025, per the FAQ document. There doesn’t appear to be Microsoft plans to support anything other than the UWP app version of OneNote in the future.

Microsoft previously signaled that the OneNote 2016 desktop application will be the last of its kind, even though the Windows 10 app version of OneNote currently lacks feature parity. For instance, the OneNote for Windows 10 app lacks an offline storage capability and all files have to be stored in Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage. That circumstance, where files need to be stored offsite, could be a reason for some organizations to opt for using OneNote 2016 with Office 2019.

Organizations using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 only have access to the new Office applications when they use Office 365 ProPlus, Microsoft’s service-enabled product that’s available through Office 365 subscriptions. Windows 7 users are supported on Office 365 ProPlus through January 2020, although they can buy Extended Security Updates and be supported through January 2023. Windows 8.1 users of Office 365 ProPlus are supported through January 2023.

Office 2019 is different from Office 365 ProPlus, which is Microsoft’s subscription-based service that gets monthly updates. In contrast, Office 2019 is a one-time purchase that won’t get future new feature updates (although security updates will be available). Spataro described Office 2019 as having a "subset" of the features that were added to Office 365 ProPlus "over the last three years." However, it’s possible that end users won’t notice the differences.

However, organizations using Office 2019 will only be able to deploy it using Microsoft’s click-to-run (C2R) streaming technology. Microsoft won’t provide MSI installation files as in the past. The C2R technology supports "volume activation, Group Policy management, administrative control over updates, and integration with management tools such as System Center Configuration Manager," according to Microsoft’s documentation. Spataro also suggested that using C2R technology will make it easier to perform in-place upgrades to Office 2019:

The advantages of C2R include predictable monthly security updates, up-to-date apps on installation, reduced network consumption through Windows 10 download optimization technology, and an easy upgrade path to Office 365 ProPlus. C2R offers the same enterprise-focused management capabilities as Microsoft Installer (MSI) based products and will also support an in-place upgrade when you move to Office 2019 from older MSI-based products.

Organizations also need to understand that Microsoft’s traditional "5 + 5" years of product support will get truncated in the case of Office 2019 on Windows 10. This product will get five years of "mainstream" support, followed by two years of "extended" support, for a total of seven years of support. It’s an exception to Microsoft’s typical 10-year Fixed Lifecycle Policy. Microsoft’s explanation for the shorter support period is that 10-year-old software "is difficult to secure," according to the "Office 2019 Commercial for Windows and Mac FAQ" document.