Microsoft has announced a new schedule for its major software updates with biannual Windows 10 updates, which will take place every March and September.
The next Windows 10 update, codenamed Redstone 3, will now arrive in September 2017.
The company confirmed that it will reduce the Office 365 ProPlus update cadence from three to two times per year, and extend the support period for Office 365 ProPlus semi-annual updates from 12 to 18 months, starting from first release.
Microsoft is also aligning the servicing models for Windows 10, Office 365 ProPlus and System Center Configuration Manager for its customers, especially those with Secure Productive Enterprise.
Windows Commercial Marketing general manager Bernardo Caldas cited security as one of the key reasons for Microsoft’s adoption of twice-yearly strategy, adding that customers wanted more predictability and simplicity from this update servicing model to help make deployments and updates of Microsoft products easier.
The company has also announced four new investments to help customers manage ProPlus application compatibility.
A limited preview of new tools is being offered to catalogue the add-ins and VBA solutions in use in users’ organisation, detect potential issues with the upgrade to Office 365 ProPlus. The company said it will recommend steps for remediation.
For each new Office 365 ProPlus release, Microsoft will carry out compatibility testing of the most common third-party add-ins, identify potential issues, and take steps to remediate.
New services will be provided to monitor customers’ ProPlus deployment. The company will also offer visibility into the usage and stability of apps and add-ins.
The company noted that it will enhance its existing service for reporting, tracking and resolving application compatibility issues. It will collaborate with customers and ISVs to identify the best approach to remediation.
The changes will make it easier to deploy and service Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus.
Microsoft said: “The Windows, Office and E+MS teams will continue to seek more ways to make deployment easier, and we look forward to your continued feedback to help us with that process.”