Many of the Office 2019 assumptions and rumors don’t account for the changed business model at Microsoft. Redmond’s dirty little secret is they’d prefer not selling Office 2019 at all.
Office 2019 is the ‘perpetual licence’, single payment, fixed feature version of Microsoft Office. Microsoft will release it later this year but the date hasn’t been announced.
Microsoft’s ideal is all customers on an annual Office 365 plan and not selling ‘perpetual licence’ Office 2019 at all. Office 365 or other annual licensing is better for Microsoft’s bottom line. It’s more profitable and gives the company more even cashflow, instead of the sudden influx of money from each new version.
Office 2019 exists because there’s enough, mainly corporate, customers who insist on having a fixed feature version of Microsoft Office. These customers don’t like the constantly shifting features in the Office ‘subscription’ model. Other customers are resisting the whole idea of annual payments to Microsoft and prefer to pay once for their software.
Redmond is releasing a new ‘perpetual licence’ Microsoft Office to keep those customers and get some upgrade money.
Microsoft’s Office 2019 dilemma
Deciding on the features in Office 2019 is a difficult balance for Microsoft. It’s not like the usual Office version where the company puts in as many new features as they need for enticing customers to upgrade.
Microsoft will only add as many new and changed Office 2019 features as are needed to sell the new product and nothing more.
That’s Microsoft’s dilemma, what to put into Office 2019 without giving away too much.
Really compelling and interesting features will be left for Microsoft’s preferred customers; the Office 365 ‘subscribers’.
There’s an optimistic notion around that Office 2019 simply be the Office 2016/Office 365 software up to a certain date or build. In this scenario, Microsoft will ‘rule a line’ under a version of Office 2016/Office 365 from late 2017 or early 2018 then repackage that build as Office 2019.
That would be cheaper for Microsoft but we suspect that Office 2019 will be a more carefully chosen feature mix with cloud related and ‘headline’ features kept for annual paying customers.