There was a time when Microsoft’s supremacy in the productivity suite market was challenged by the likes of Google Docs and even open source office suites like OpenOffice and LibreOffice. That phase, however, has come and gone and Microsoft Office still remains the household name in that arena. Unfortunately, it also remains one of Microsoft’s more complicated and confusing products, offered in a dizzying array of options. There’s always room for more, of course, and Microsoft just what’s coming for its “perpetual” release of its Office suite.
Truth be told, Microsoft would prefer that everyone use Microsoft 365 instead. Its cloud-based subscription model not only means Microsoft can continually push updates “as a service”, it also means customers keep paying monthly or yearly rather than a one-time purchase fee. That said, it also accepts that there are some cases and customers, especially business ones, where connecting to the Internet is not always an option, which is what its Long Term Servicing Channel or LTSC is for.
Office LTSC is the next “perpetual version” of Office that matches what Microsoft will also be doing with Windows 10 LTSC. In a nutshell, it will provide only a subset of features and apps available from Microsoft 365. It won’t have Skype for Business, for example, but will have Microsoft Teams. Office LTSC will only offer five years of support, down from seven in the previous release, and its price will also increase by 10%.
For consumers and small businesses, Microsoft will offer Office 2021 under a one-time purchase model as well. These will also be supported for five years but, thankfully, will have no price changes. Details, however, are scarce at the moment but Microsoft promises to announce more closer to its release.
When that release will be is still undetermined, as the company only mentions “later this year”. Office LTSC, on the other hand, is slated for the second half of the year, along with Windows 10 LTSC. Microsoft also reveals that there will be Mac versions of Office coming for both commercial and consumer customers.