Microsoft has just announced an update for Office intended for users of Office 2007, 2010 and 2013 which, according to its page of mediumwill help “Identify the number of users who are running out-of-support (or soon to be) versions of Office, including Office 2013, Office 2010, and Office 2007.”
The update named KB5021751 is delivered by Windows Update and will be installed automatically. It seems that the “sole purpose” is check if an unsupported version of Microsoft Office is installed on the system and notify Microsoft about it.
The program checks if any version of Microsoft office 2007, 2010, or 2013 is installed on the device. As reported, it is collecting data from “registry entries and APIs” and it will leave no traces after you have retrieved the information.
The point that makes us doubt is what Microsoft means when it says that it collects the data for “determine the best way to support and service these systems.” And it is thatOffice 2007 and 2010 are no longer supported by Microsoft, and Office 2013 reaches its end of support in April 2023.
They ensure that the company will not collect data about licenses, users or third-party products using the update. As Microsoft states in the KB5021751 update details, the company values, protects, and defends the privacy of its customers.
What does Microsoft want that information for?
Ultimately, this would be the big question on our minds. We might come to think that Microsoft you would want to use the data to develop and release security updates for out-of-support versions of Office, if the population is large enough for it.
On the other hand, Microsoft has not made any promise or clarification in this regard, so there are undoubtedly other possible less positive intentions for the user in relation to the processing of this data. If such an old version of Office works for them (and most people seem to be fine with it), why force them to upgrade?
Besides, Supporting older software is difficult, and keeping a package like Office secure is certainly a challenge.
Microsoft adds in the update description that older versions of Office pose a security risk, and older Office installations can “experience performance and reliability issues over time”. Of course, the company does not specify what problems users of Office 2007, 2010 or 2013 may encounter.