Microsoft has announced an update to the productivity suite, Office 2021, for consumers along with one variant specifically targeted at businesses, the Office Long Term Servicing Channel.
Like the version that came before it, Office 2019, Office 2021 is Microsoft’s standalone option for people who do not want to buy a subscription to the company’s cloud-enabled Microsoft 365. Office 2021 is set to roll out sometime later this year for both Mac and Windows, Said Microsoft 365’s executive vice president Jared Spataro in a company blog posts on Thursday. In the meantime, Office LTSC will be available as a commercial preview starting April on both Mac and Windows, with a full version scheduled for later this year.
Microsoft will provide support for both products for five years, a slight downgrade from the seven-year warranty it comes with previous Office products. Each comes with OneNote and comes with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The one-time purchase price will be the same for both personal and small business users, although there will be a 10% price increase for Office Professional Plus, Office Standard and individual Office app purchases.
The company did not give many details about what kind of new features and updates we will see with Office 2021, but it confirmed what users can expect with Office LTSC.
“New Office LTSC features include accessibility enhancements, features such as Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel, dark mode support across multiple apps, and performance improvements in Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint,” Shapiro wrote.
While I’m sure Microsoft prefers companies to just switch to the cloud already, it’s also clear that the company realizes that not everyone can or even will. In Thursday’s blog post, Microsoft invoiced its one-time purchase version of Office as a “special product for specific scenarios.” These scenarios include where users are on regulated devices that cannot receive monthly updates, process control devices on production floors that cannot be connected to the Internet, or specialsystems that must be locked in on time and require a long-term service channel, it said.
In an interview with the edges, Spataro framed the company’s decision as “a matter of trying to meet customers where they are. ”
“We have absolutely a lot of customers who have moved to the cloud in the last 10 months, a lot has happened,” he told the outlet. “At the same time, we definitely have customers who have specific scenarios where they do not feel they can move to the cloud.”
Microsoft has previously claimed that even with its advertising push to convince users to move to the cloud, it plans to continue rolls out stand-alone, perpetual licenses for their Office tools in the foreseeable future. ONEand based on today’s announcement, is the company’seems committed to that promise.