I was recently at a client assisting in what should have been a simple process…find where Access 2016 disappeared to.  It was there before updating (Access 2013), then magically disappeared?!

My first instinct was perhaps a missing shortcut, or missed install.  However, it turned out to be something much simpler, yet perplexing:  It was no longer an option because this client uses Office 365 for business.  To be specific, they have the Premium Plan.

Hmmm…what’s that, you say?  YES, Access has been removed from all business Office 365 plans EXCEPT the E3 plan!

Now, if Microsoft Office 365 never came with Access to start with in the business plan, fine.  I get that.  But in this case a plan that the business subscribed to that included Access 2013, now EXCLUDES Access 2016!  I’m pro Microsoft, but this really crosses the line.  This business built apps using Access, and relies on it.  To upgrade and keep their design capabilities in Access, they need to upgrade the Office 365 plan to E3.  This means a cost increase in their business from about current model $400 / month to E3 model $600 per month.  OR they can go to the Microsoft store and buy Access for $119.  So much for the affordability of Office 365 that was so heavily advertised.

So why the change Microsoft?  This is dirty pool.  This is EXACTLY why I get resistance from customers when selling the Office 365 model.  You rent software at a rate you accept when you subscribe, but when the landlord wants to increase the rent, or change your services….you’re hooped!  You either pay to play, or lose your software rights.

So be warned people.  Office 365 is right for many people, but if your are a database developer or business relying on databases, you better plan ahead for the extra upgrade cost.  I use Office 365 E3, but for me there are many benefits a lot of businesses would not use.

Jeff Shirley