Microsoft is launching its next perpetual version of Microsoft Office for commercial customers today, and promising an Office 2021 consumer release on October 5th. Microsoft Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for Windows and Mac will be available for commercial and government users today, providing a locked-in time release of Office that doesn’t require a subscription.
Office LTSC is designed for businesses in regulated industries where processes and apps can’t change on a monthly basis, or for manufacturing plants that rely on Office and want a locked-in time release. It won’t ship with the AI- and cloud-powered features that are found in Microsoft 365, and it won’t receive new features, either. Microsoft will support Office LTSC for five years, and the company has also committed to another perpetual version of Office for the future.
The consumer Office 2021 perpetual release will be very similar, offering a locked-in time release without feature updates. Microsoft lists the following additions to Office LTSC, that should also apply to Office 2021:
- Line Focus - similar to a reading mode to remove distraction and move through Word documents line by line.
- XLOOKUP function - helps find things in a table or range by row in an Excel worksheet.
- Dynamic array support - new functions in Excel that use dynamic arrays.
- Dark mode - all Office apps will include dark mode support.
Microsoft still, naturally, recommends Microsoft 365 for both businesses and consumers, where the company has more than 300 million paid seats for Office 365 on the commercial side. Microsoft did recently announce its first price increase for both Microsoft 365 and Office 365 that goes into effect in March 2022.
Microsoft hasn’t yet detailed pricing for Office 2021, but the company says it will be generally available on October 5th, the same day Windows 11 launches. More details on Office 2021 features and pricing will follow soon.