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There is a whole rumour mill about the demise of Microsoft Access, and to be honest there has been for the last 20 years.  Dig a little deeper and it becomes fairly obvious that the rumours are put out there by the companies trying to sell alternatives to Microsoft Access. So, is Microsoft Access going away? No, certainly not anytime soon.  Microsoft Access is used by millions of businesses and organisations throughout the world and Microsoft have stated that they remain committed to not only supporting Access but to continue to enhance it.

You may be reading this if you are considering developing (or having developed) an Access application, and want to know if this is the right choice. You may also be reading it if you have an existing Access database and you want to see if you can use it remotely or in the cloud, or if you should seek a cloud based alternative to Microsoft Access.  So, in this article we will look at some of the myths about Microsoft Access being discontinued and provide some answers to commonly asked questions about the future of Microsoft Access.


Is Microsoft Access dead?

No, Microsoft have no plans to end Microsoft Access. They are committed to its development. See this video from Access Program Manager Ebo Quansah where he confirms that Microsoft will continue to develop Access and included it in future releases of Office.


Is Microsoft Access being phased out?

Ignoring the commitment from Microsoft in the video above, you have to ask the question, why would Microsoft phase out Access?   It is the most popular relational database management system on the planet for small business and organisations.   It’s combination of simplicity and incredible functionality, flexibility and scalability mean that anyone can create a simple database, and even the most inexperienced of developers can build on that to create very sophisticated application.  There are no Microsoft Access alternatives that even come close.  The cloud based, online alternatives to MS Access simply cannot offer the same depth of functionality and flexibility that the desktop application does.


What will replace Microsoft Access?

Well, the replacement for Microsoft Access 2019 will be Microsoft Access 2022. After that I imagine something like Microsoft Access 2025.


How long will Microsoft Access be supported?

The current version of Microsoft Access, Version 2019 goes end of life in 2025, and our expectation is that the next version will be supported until at least 2028. However, if you are planning for beyond that it’s worth considering that many people are still using Access 2010 or earlier.  It isn’t advisable to use unsupported versions of software, but you need to consider the context in which you are using it and whether you think it would pose a risk to your specific circumstances.


Is there an online version of Microsoft Access?

Yes and no. Microsoft pulled their attempts at making an online version of Access i.e. Webapps or using SharePoint, but thousands of businesses are hosting their desktop-based Access databases in the cloud using hosted remote desktop services aka Desktop as a Service. These services enable you to run your Access database in the cloud without any recoding, and generally work out cheaper than the online Access alternatives. So, yes, Microsoft Access can be used online. You do not need to use lesser MS Access cloud alternatives Find out more here: Access in the cloud


Is Microsoft Access still relevant?

If you’re wondering how popular is Microsoft Access and are Microsoft Access databases still used the answer is yes, very much so.  As the country’s leading provider of Microsoft Access cloud hosting I can say that Access is currently the most popular application customers enquire about with us. Many businesses host Access in the cloud using our remote desktop services platform.  Access is most definitely relevant and will continue to be so for a long while yet.


Is Microsoft Access cloud based?

Access is a very sophisticated, highly functional and infinitely customisable application that is designed to run on a Windows desktops.  Anyone who compares desktop applications with web-based ones will know how feature rich desktop apps are compared with so called cloud apps. However, Access can also be run in the cloud by using cloud hosted desktops.  Using Windows Remote Desktop Services hosted desktops enable multiple people to connect to and work on your Access application in the cloud, and the best part is, you don’t need to make any changes to the application to make it work in the cloud.

Running Microsoft Access in the cloud using hosted desktops also enables non-windows users to run Access using their Mac, iPad or Android tablets, even Google Chromebooks.


What is the best alternative to Microsoft Access?

The simplest answer is there isn’t one. Sure, there are other desktop database applications and there are other cloud based or web based alternatives to Microsoft Access. However, none of these come close to providing the all-round package that is simple to develop yet incredibly sophisticated.  I have seen some incredibly complex applications developed in Microsoft Access.  As a business you could invest in bespoke database applications, custom written by a developer and pay tens of thousands of pounds for the privilege, but that isn’t what Access is about. Access is a tool to create bespoke applications, specifically tailored to your business, but at a sensible cost. The best alternative to Microsoft Access would perhaps be Microsoft Access with a SQL Server or SQL Server Express back-end.  There you get all the functionality of Access with the robustness and scalability of SQL Server.


Is Microsoft Access going away?

No, the rumours that Microsoft Access is discontinued, that Microsoft Access is dying, or that Microsoft are end of life’ing Access are not correct. Consider it fake news disseminated by the companies selling Microsoft Access alternatives.


What is replacing Microsoft Access?

The next version of Microsoft Access. Microsoft haven’t publicised an official release date yet (at the time of writing) but expectation is that it will be Access 2022.


What is the future of Microsoft Access?

Let’s face it, the future of software applications is very much focused on cloud based, web or mobile based apps.   However, the traditional desktop applications that we all use for our work day to day, applications like Microsoft Office, many accounting packages like Sage 50, as well as many resource intensive and highly functional applications like CAD software, photo editing etc. just work so much better on the desktop. We all use mobile apps and browser-based apps for many day to day tasks, but as a replacement for desktop apps, they are too slow, too basic, too inflexible, too generic.  Does Microsoft Access have a future?  Yes, for a long time yet, because the alternatives just aren’t even close yet.


OK, I’m convinced Microsoft Access is not being discontinued, but how do I migrate my Access database to the cloud?

The process is very easy, no re-coding, no re-training, you could be running Access in the cloud in less than a week from signing up. To find out more have a chat with one of our sales consultants using the form below.