Enabling productivity for everyone with Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

Published 02-18-2021 09:00 AM 7,334 Views

Enabling productivity for everyone with Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise  


A huge benefit to being in the cloud with Microsoft 365 is having the flexibility to provide employees working across different roles and locations with the latest features and updates—a critical task for any IT organization. That’s why we’re excited to announce two new features for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise—extended offline access and device-based subscriptionsthat remove critical blockers and enable customers to deploy Microsoft 365 across their entire environment, streamlining deployment and administration. These capabilities will help you ensure that employees who are offline for months at a time or rely on shared devices and workstations can benefit from the same user experience and stay productive and secure no matter where they’re working. 

Enabling extended offline access scenarios


To ensure Microsoft 365 Apps stays up to date, devices must connect to the internet at least once every 30 days. However, we’re aware that in industries, including government, oil and gas, manufacturing, agriculture, and scientific research, some people work in secure or remote environments where they have limited or no internet connectivity for longer periods of time.  


To address this, we’re now providing extended offline access* to enable devices to stay activated without connecting to the internet for up to 180 days. Workers in secure or remote environments who are offline for long periods of time can continue using Microsoft 365 Apps to stay productive on-the-job without worrying about being cut off from the tools they need most after 30 days.  

Setting up and running Microsoft 365 Apps for offline use 


For organizations with workers who need to run Microsoft 365 Apps offline for an extended period, IT administrators can enable extended offline access when they install Microsoft 365 Apps on a device. The worker signs into Windows with their Microsoft 365 account by viewing the expiration date that appears in a Product Information window on their device. After that, the worker can continue using Office with no internet for up to 180 days. Fifteen (15) days before offline access expires, they will receive an in-app notification. At that point, the worker can either reconnect the device to the internet before the expiration date or the IT administrator can generate a license in the Office portal from a second, connected device and copy the license to the other device.  


In order to enable Extended Offline Access on a device, IT admins need to deploy the group policy on that deviceIn order to enable Extended Offline Access on a device, IT admins need to deploy the group policy on that device

Setting up device-based subscriptions for shared devices


For organizations, whose employees are mostly information workers, user-based licensing for Microsoft 365 covers most use case scenarios. But for organizations in industries, such as manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, retail and hospitality, many employees may share one device. In those cases, users that rely on shared devices have not been able to have access to the latest and most secure productivity tools that are available on desktop, to address this scenario we’re introducing device-based subscriptions for Microsoft 365 Apps.  


Assigning licenses to devices in Microsoft 365 admin center.Assigning licenses to devices in Microsoft 365 admin center.

Having device-based subscriptions for Microsoft 365 Apps enables you to extend coverage to commonly used devices on loading docks, at nurses’ stations, on the manufacturing floor, or in a breakroom. Because the license is assigned to the device, workers aren’t required to have their own Azure Active Directory identity. Workers can sign into the device as many times as needed and access all Microsoft 365 Apps, including Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word.


To deploy a device-based subscription, you simply purchase the required number of Microsoft 365 licenses and assign a license to a device group in the Microsoft 365 admin center. To enable this functionality on a device, use the group policy for currently installed devices and/or the configuration.xml attribute. 


Learn more about device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise here.


*Eligible customers should contact their Microsoft account representative to determine if extended offline access for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise is the right solution for them.


Continue the conversation by joining us in the Microsoft 365 Tech Community! Whether you have product questions or just want to stay informed with the latest updates on new releases, tools, and blogs, Microsoft 365 Tech Community is your go-to resource to stay connected!

Frequent Contributor

Hi @MattPhilipenko reading the licensing requirement seems it is not allowed / supported to use Server 2019 LTSC RDSH / Citrix. 


The following are the requirements for device-based licensing for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise:


from the version Server 2019 or upcoming Server 2022 would qualify based on the version.
Also Server could be Hybrid Joined.
Can you please share information you have on this? 

Furthermore, do you have information about which versions of Office are going to be supported on Server 2019 and Server 2022 so basically an updated version of reflecting the upcoming versions of Server and Office. This would be very helpful for licensing and upgrade plans for H2 2021. Thank you in advance!





If your goal here is to do everything possible to drive me away from your products, you're succeeding beyond your wildest dreams.  You're announcing with great fanfare that you're going to continue to let us deploy Office the way we want to, and the same way we've been happily using it for the last 25  years (device-based licensing), except not really, taking the caveats into account.  We're a public library, and we have a number of public-access workstations, and a number of shared staff workstations.


#1) "The Windows 10 device must be Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) joined or hybrid Azure AD joined."  We're not joined to Azure AD, and we have no desire to be.  Library patrons by definition are anonymous users who do not authenticate with AD.  Why is this unacceptable to Microsoft?  We're already paying you three times for each station (Windows OEM, Windows CAL, Office ProPlus)?  Why can't you just license us the way we want and the way we have been for 20+ years?


#2) "For commercial customers, the license is Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise (device) and is available only through Enterprise Agreement/Enterprise Agreement Subscription. For education customers, the license is Microsoft 365 Apps for Education (device) and is available only through Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES)."  I'm sorry to report that - like 99%+ of your customers - we're a relatively small operation, we don't have 1,000+ users, so therefore we don't have EES and couldn't qualify for it even if we tried.  So again this announcement is useless to us.


It is simply maddening that you're throwing one wrench after another into our operations, and it's quickly getting to the point where you (like Adobe before you) literally can't or won't offer a device-based license that's available to us with our size and market sector.  Do you want us to switch to OpenOffice?

Frequent Contributor

Hi @jsand42 I understand your frustration. Licensing is a nightmare at times.

If you have a Software Assurance you might want to step up to Office 2022 instead, that has lower requirements and should fit with your on-premises usecase.


Unfortunately Microsoft is very silent about the supported OS list until today, even though it is pretty much ante portas and many need to have more outlook for budget and strategy decision.


I am personally sure it will be supported on Windows 10 21H2 LTSC (and eventually SAC) as they reduced the LTSC support to 5 years which matches Office LTSC, here 2022.


I would not bet on support of Windows Server 2016/2019/2022 LTSC anymore based on last developments.

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