Delays, deals and drastic actions: Microsoft responds to the pandemic

    The COVID-19 pandemic has postponed the Tokyo Olympics, scrubbed all school sports activities and silenced presidential marketing campaign rallies, so it should not be any shock that the disaster has additionally upended plans Microsoft as soon as had set in related stone.But due to the work-at-home mandate set by many companies, Microsoft has confronted different pressures by dint of its place because the maker of Windows and Office, two expertise cornerstones of contemporary firms.Along with rivals Google and Apple, Microsoft was among the many first U.S. corporations to ship workers dwelling, one of many first to start out tearing up calendars. Since early March, it is made a rating and extra adjustments to product timelines, launched offers particular to work-at-home or the pandemic, and brought motion to shutter shops and symposiums.Computerworld has collected a few of the many modifications Microsoft’s made – consider this as a one-stop-shop for the adjustments that almost all have an effect on clients, enterprise above all – and we’ll proceed so as to add to the catalog so long as the disruption lasts.Bookmark this web page, come again quickly and infrequently. We’ll attempt to hold it as contemporary as attainable.Delays and new datesSQL Server cumulative updates are pushed again a monthOn April 21, Microsoft stated it could push again the releases of upcoming SQL Server updates by a month.”Starting in May 2020, Microsoft will delay the release date for all mainstream supported SQL Server Cumulative Updates (CUs) out by one month,” the corporate famous in a rising checklist of servicing adjustments prompted by the pandemic.SQL Server’s CUs are delivered on an uncommon schedule. Each version of the database software program receives month-to-month CUs for the primary 12 months after launch, after which the tempo slows to quarterly for the next 4 years. (The two elements, one 12 months plus 4 years, make up the software program’s half-decade of “Mainstream” assist.)The one-month push-back signifies that the following SQL Server CUs might be:SQL Server 2019 CU 5 on June 16
    SQL Server 2016 SP2 CU 13 on June 16
    SQL Server 2017 CU 21 on July 21
    Windows 10 1809 will get six extra monthsOn April 14, Microsoft added Windows 10 1809 to the assist extension checklist, giving clients working Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro – and area of interest working methods like Windows 10 Pro Education and Windows 10 Pro for Workstations – six extra months of assist. Rather than having assist expire May 12, these customers of 1809 can have till Nov. 10 to improve to a more recent model.While Windows 10 Home and Pro clients will find yourself with a complete of 24 months of assist for 1809, these working Windows 10 Enterprise or Windows 10 Education will obtain their normal 30 months, the assist lifespan for these working methods of every improve marked as yy09 in Microsoft’s numeric format. Windows 10 Enterprise and Education 1809 exhausts assist on May 11, 2021.Server-side stuff receives additional assist, tooMicrosoft has additionally stretched out assist for a number of server titles due to the COVID-19 pandemic.SharePoint Server 2010 (and the much less well-known SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Project Server 2010) obtained six (shock) extra months of assist. Originally set to go away assist on Oct. 13, the brand new ending date might be April 13, 2021.Windows Server model 1809 had its assist lengthened by the identical period of time and to the identical ultimate date as Windows 10 1809. Windows Server 1809, which debuted a 12 months and a half in the past, will obtain safety updates via Nov. 10.Microsoft gave the identical remedy to Configuration Manager 1810, pushing its assist cutoff from May 27 to Dec. 1.Windows 10 1709 retirement deadline prolongedIn mid-March, Microsoft added six months to the assist lifecycle of Windows 10 Enterprise 1709 and Windows 10 Education 1709, telling clients that it could present safety updates till Oct. 13. The unique drop-dead date had been April 14.The extension pushed the assist lifecycle from 30 months to a complete of 36 months, the longest ever for a Windows 10 improve.Third- and fourth-week Windows non-security updates stop in MayMicrosoft will cease serving all elective non-security releases – these designated as C and D updates, issued in the course of the third and fourth weeks of every month, respectively – as of May. The cause: “We are prioritizing our focus on security updates,” the corporate stated in March.The stoppage will apply to all variations of Windows and Windows Server, from the most recent (Windows 10 1909) to the oldest (Windows Server 2008 R2).Directive that may have disabled Basic Authentication in Exchange Online postponed to ’21In September 2019, Microsoft advised clients utilizing Exchange Online – a key part of Office 365 – that it could flip off Basic Authentication for a number of separate providers and protocols, together with Exchange ActiveSync, IMAP and POP, on Oct. 13, 2020. (Basic Authentication is the easy but acquainted username + password mannequin; it’s much less safe from assault than Modern Authentication, which generally features a multi-factor authentication (MFA) backup, comparable to sending a safety code to the consumer’s smartphone.)That Microsoft commandment has been postponed to “the second half of 2021.” (Microsoft stated it could declare a exact date “when we have a better understanding of the impact of the [COVID-19 crisis] situation.”Edge will assist TLS 1.0 and 1.1 till JulyRather than observe via on a multi-vendor pledge to drop assist for these out of date encryption protocols in early 2020, Microsoft as an alternative gave them a restricted reprieve. Edge will ban TLS 1.0 and 1.1 “no sooner” than Edge 84, slated to launch round July 1.The not-dead-yet Internet Explorer (IE) and the legacy Edge are to disable the protocols by default as of Sept. 8.Certifications’ retirement deferred to January 2021Close to the tip of March, Microsoft bowed to a rising tide of customers’ calls for that they’ve extra time to complete their work towards quite a few certifications the corporate was going to retire this summer time.In February, Microsoft introduced that each one “remaining exams associated with Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) [and] Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) will retire on June 30, 2020.”The retirements have been a part of an overhaul of Microsoft’s certification packages that emphasised role-based coaching versus the product-based certifications of earlier than.A user-generated petition sought extra time for individuals to complete exams for which they’d put money and time into preparation. Once the COVID-19 pandemic went world, take a look at facilities have been shuttered and coaching lessons canceled, making it unattainable to finish every little thing by the deadline.Microsoft set the brand new retirement date as Jan. 31, 2021.The new offersFree recommendation on servicing Windows 10 remotelyMicrosoft will begin one thing it is referred to as “office hours” on Wednesday, April 22, the place its specialists and engineers will stand by to reply questions from IT admins about managing Windows 10 for distant staff. The hour-long session will happen between 8-9 a.m. PT at this digital location.At least two different dates – April 28, 4-5 p.m. PT and May 6 8-9 a.m. PT – have already been scheduled.More details about the workplace hours deal can be found right here.Teams let outMicrosoft launched free Teams in early March as one among its first responses to the creating pandemic. Restrictions apply, naturally, however they are not onerous. Sign up begins right here.Businesses may get everybody within the firm onto Teams free of charge. The “Microsoft Teams Exploratory” program lets workers with out Teams however with an Azure Active Directory-managed e-mail handle request a Teams license. (The request should be initiated by the consumer; it can’t be claimed by an IT administrator for a consumer.) The no-charge license might be good till the corporate’s subsequent enterprise settlement anniversary or subscription renewal that falls in or after January 2021.More info, together with how directors can handle the Teams license, might be discovered on this assist doc.Free Office 365 E1In March, Microsoft rolled out a free provide for Office 365 E1 “in response to the increased need for employees to work from home (WFH) in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.” Interested companies should work with their present Microsoft account consultant – if they’ve one – or failing that, with a Microsoft reseller. (Customers can search right here for a reseller if they are not now working with one.)The provide supplies an E1 license for as much as six months. The subscription plan, which prices $8 per consumer monthly when bought on an annual foundation, is the lowest-priced Office 365 Enterprise plan and consists of web-based apps (Word, Excel and so forth) quite than the extra succesful desktop purposes. It additionally consists of cloud-based e-mail, cloud storage and Teams, the so-hot-it’s-on-fire video conferencing/assembly software program.At that worth, the provide is price round $50 per consumer.More info is on the market right here.(A plan analogous to E1, however for U.S. authorities companies and workplaces, G1, will also be trialed freed from cost for six months. Those particulars can be found right here.)Six free months of Microsoft 365 Business BasicTill the tip of June, Microsoft is providing six free months of the lowest-priced Microsoft 365 subscription plan to new business clients who decide to an annual plan.Customers might be charged for the seventh via twelve months of the 12 months’s subscription. The said worth for the plan is $5 per consumer monthly.Microsoft 365 Business Basic – often known as Office 365 Business Essentials earlier than Microsoft rebranded elements of its line-up – supplies entry to a number of Redmond-run providers, together with cloud-based Exchange e-mail, OneDrive for Business space for storing (1TB per consumer) and the collaborative Teams platform. It doesn’t embrace regionally put in productiveness purposes comparable to Word, Excel and PowerPoint, now collectively often known as Microsoft 365 Apps, however as an alternative affords the web-based variations.Microsoft has dealt with the free-six-month Business Basic deal since early April, however in May additionally let Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) course of the promotional subscriptions. More info is on the market on-line.Drastic actionsBuild 2020 goes just-digital, all Microsoft occasions observe swimsuitMicrosoft’s annual builders convention, initially to happen in Seattle, was saved on the calendar however went digital-only in March, when Washington state was the U.S. viral hotspot. In early April, the corporate stated that each one its occasions via the tip of June 2021 could be “digital-first,” though like many organizations, concurrently promised that it could “continue to evaluate the situation” and return to a pre-COVID strategy “when the situation allows.”Closed all retailMicrosoft shuttered its retail shops – the majority of the 80-plus places are within the U.S. – in mid-March. “All Microsoft Store locations are currently closed until further notice,” the corporate stated on its location portal.The firm has provided digital workshops to interchange the in-store coaching periods it had run earlier. Not surprisingly, amongst these workshops is one referred to as “Microsoft Teams Training for Business – Master working at home with Microsoft Teams.”

    Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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