There was a time when Microsoft’s supremacy in the productivity package market was challenged by companies like Google Docs and even open source office packages like OpenOffice and LibreOffice. This phase, however, has come and gone, and Microsoft Office is still the household name in this area. Unfortunately, it also remains one of Microsoft’s most complicated and confusing products, offered in a dizzying array of options. There is always room for more, of course, and Microsoft just what lies ahead for the “perpetual” launch of its Office suite.
Truth be told, Microsoft prefers everyone to use Microsoft 365. Its cloud-based subscription model not only means that Microsoft can continuously send updates “as a service”, but it also means that customers continue to pay monthly or annually, on instead of a one-time purchase fee. That said, it also accepts that there are some cases and customers, especially business ones, where internet connection is not always an option, for which its Long Term Servicing Channel or LTSC is intended.
Office LTSC is the next “perpetual version” of Office that corresponds to what Microsoft will also do with Windows 10 LTSC. In short, it will provide only a subset of the features and applications available in Microsoft 365. It will not have Skype for Business, for example, but it will have Microsoft Teams. Office LTSC will offer only five years of support, down from seven in the previous version, and its price will also increase by 10%.
For consumers and small businesses, Microsoft will also offer Office 2021 as a one-time purchase model. They will also be supported for five years, but, fortunately, will not have price changes. The details, however, are scarce at the moment, but Microsoft promises to announce closer to its launch.
It is not yet known when this launch will take place, as the company only mentions “later this year”. Office LTSC, on the other hand, is scheduled for the second half of the year, along with Windows 10 LTSC. Microsoft also reveals that there will be versions of Office for Mac coming to both business customers and consumers.