Microsoft revealed plans to release a new Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) release of Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac devices today.
Microsoft Office 2021 will be the successor of Office 2019, and supported for five years from the day of its official release. Office 2019 and the upcoming Office 2021 are single-device products that are purchased with a one-time payment.
The new version of Office will introduce new features and improvements in the application. Office LTSC is feature-locked when it is released; Microsoft will release security and bug-fix updates but the application suite won't receive constant feature updates like Windows 10 or Microsoft 365 after its release.
New Office LTSC features will include accessibility improvements, capabilities like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel, dark mode support across multiple apps, and performance improvements across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint.
The new Office ships with Microsoft Teams and not Skype for Business client. The latter is available as a standalone download on Microsoft's Download Center website.
Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, made the announcement on the official Microsoft 365 blog, and it comes as no surprise that Microsoft considers Office 2021 suitable for "a limited set of specific situations" only in Enterprise and business environments.
We have built Office LTSC for a limited set of specific situations: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term servicing channel.
Microsoft 365, which includes Office tools, is a subscription service that Microsoft pushes. In contrast, Microsoft Office 2021 has a device-based perpetual license. Information about on-premise versions of Visio, Project, Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server and Sharepoint Server will be provided in the coming months according to the announcement.
Microsoft released ads in the past to highlight the superiority of Office 365, and to convince customers not to buy Office 2019.
The Enterprise version of Office 2021 will have its price increased by 10%, while the consumer version designed for personal use and small businesses will have the same price as Office 2019.
Microsoft Office Home & Student, Office Home & Business, and Office Professional, are available for $149.99, 249.99 and $439.99 respectively at the Microsoft Store. The software applications are discounted regularly on third-party sites.
Microsoft Office 2021 won't be the last perpetual-license version of Microsoft Office according to Spataro:
And, because we are always asked at release if there will be another one, I’m happy to confirm our commitment to another release in the future.
Microsoft plans to release a preview of Office 2021 in April 2021. The new Office version will be offered as a 32-bit and 64-bit application, and it will include the OneNote application according to the announcement. The company did not reveal other system requirements. The last Office version is Windows 10 exclusive, and it is likely that Office 2021 will also be Windows 10 exclusive when it comes to the Windows operating system.
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