Microsoft has announced two ‘perpetual licence’ or non-subscription versions of Office that will be released later in 2021. Both continue Microsoft’s unstated but bleedingly obvious attempts to push customers to annual ‘subscription’ payments.
Here’s what Microsoft has disclosed so far with an explanation of the continued reduction of value for perpetual licence purchasers.
Consumers and small businesses can buy Microsoft Office 2021 for Windows or Mac sometime ‘later this year’.
No word on what features will be in Office 2021.
Even less support
The ‘fixed’ support period for Office 2016 and before was a total of ten years. But Microsoft’s definition of ‘fixed lifecycle’ changes to suit themselves.
Office 2019 saw support dropped from ten to seven years, using a flimsy excuse.
Now Office 2021 will only be supported for five years. Microsoft tries to suggest this is normal by calling it “… the traditional “one-time purchase” model”. But it’s really a big change and further reduction of value for customers.
In other words, across two versions of Office, support for the product has halved.
For commercial/volume licence customers there’s Microsoft Office LTSC a clumsy name that hardly rolls off the tongue.
LTSC stands for ‘Long Term Servicing Channel’ which is a misleading label featuring Microsoft’s new definition of ‘Long Term’.
Like Office 2021, support only lasts five years. Half what it was for Office 2016 and two years less than Office 2019.
There’s also a Windows LTSC release. Both are due later this year.
For the privilege of less support, Office LTSC will be 10% more expensive than the current Office Professional Plus, Office Standard, and individual apps.
Only the broad strokes of new Office LTSC features have been announced.
- Dynamic Arrays in Excel
- XLOOKUP() in Excel
- Dark mode support
- Performance improvements
- Accessibility improvements
Windows and Mac
Both Office 2021 and Office LTSC will be available for Windows and Mac desktops.
32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows. Only 64-bit for Mac.
Windows 10 is required for Office 2021, same as Office 2019.
MacOS, Microsoft’s policy is to support the current and past two MacOS releases.