A lot of press reports about Office 2019 give the impression that the single-payment, non-subscription version of Microsoft Office is about to disappear off retail shelves. Everyone needs to take a deep breath and calm down … Office 2019 isn’t dead or even on life-support though Microsoft would love to stop selling it.
It all started with the ‘revelation’ last week that Office 2019 had been dropped from the Home Use Program. Office Watch readers knew that already, because we’d warned back in July when some people still had the option to jump in and get Office 2019 for a mere $15.
From there the Internet rumor mill has spun out of control. Now we’re seeing reports that Office 2019 will be the ‘last’ perpetual licence, non-subscription Microsoft Office with vague mumblings that even Office 2019 will be dropped.
Office 2019 isn’t going anywhere
Get a grip. Microsoft won’t stop selling Office 2019.
The company knows there are consumer and business customers who won’t switch to Office subscriptions.
Better to sell those customers Office 2019 than risk them moving to a non-Microsoft Office suite. Some sales are better than no sales or losing customers completely.
It’s no secret that Microsoft would like to only sell annual software/service rentals (called ‘subscriptions’). ‘Subscriptions’ are a lot more profitable than single-payment software sales among other benefits to Microsoft.
Redmond pushes Office 365 plans to both retail and volume customers. Office 2019 is almost hidden away on web sites and even retail displays.
Office 2019 is deliberately priced very high with few discounts available. That’s no mistake either.
Office 2019 being dropped from the Home Use Program discounts wasn’t surprising. The surprise was Office 2019 being offered at all!
Nobody knows the future
Microsoft might want Office 2019 to be the last perpetual licence Office but no-one knows if that will happen. Not even Microsoft knows that.
At the moment, the only public statement from Microsoft is the usual bland corporate-speak that says nothing (deliberately).
“We remain committed to on-premises customers and plan to do additional releases post Office 2019.”
That’s not a firm commitment to the future of non-cloud Microsoft Office. Only that Redmond ‘plans’ to have future releases. That doesn’t mean they will.
Elsewhere they say:
“We’re pleased to confirm that we’re committed to another on-premises release in the future.”
But Microsoft has gone back on commitments before, when it’s suited them.
Office 2021, Office 2022?
We expect there will be another non-subscription Office release (Office 2021?, Office 2022?) because there are enough customers who won’t switch to Office 365.
It mostly depends on what commercial/volume customers do. If there are enough large customers firmly not interested in Office 365 subscriptions, Microsoft will make another perpetual licence version of Office.
If only a small group of organizations refuse to bend to Microsoft’s will, Office 2019 could be the last single-purchase Office suite.
Either way, Office 2019 will be on sale for some time and there’ll be plenty of notice if sales stop.
Or Microsoft will offer some compromise option. Maybe fixed feature Office software with cloud services for an annual fee?