Microsoft today announced that it is committing to a coordinated release schedule for Windows 10 and Office updates, in an effort to make things more manageable and predictable for IT professionals handling enterprise deployments. Under the new plan, future updates will arrive in March or September each year, and Microsoft says each feature release will be serviced and supported for 18 months.

By extending the support period from 12 to 18 months, the company says it’s helping IT pros to choose to update once or twice a year, instead of rushing to beat the update-support clock.

Microsoft didn’t specify exact dates within those months but confirmed that "Redstone 3," the next feature update to Windows 10 will begin rolling out in September 2017. That said, Windows Central speculates it’s possible the company finalizes Redstone 3 in September, with a general release sometime in October, similar to how the Creators Update was finalized in March but released in April.

Microsoft isn’t detailing exactly what its next major Windows 10 update will include, but Insiders recently started testing Redstone 3 in the Fast ring so details should start to surface in the coming weeks.

On the Office side, Microsoft noted that starting October 13, 2020, Office 365 ProPlus or Office perpetual in mainstream support will be required to connect to Office 365 services. “We’re providing more than three years’ notice to give IT time to plan and budget for this change. Until this new requirement goes into effect in 2020, Office 2010, Office 2013 and Office 2016 perpetual clients will still be able to connect to Office 365 services,” the announcement reads. You can read the complete details here and here.

Header image credit: Reuters / Mike Segar