Microsoft this week announced the latest update to its productivity suite, Office 2021, in a blog post by Jared Shapiro, Microsoft 365’s Corporate Vice President. He also announced Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) for companies that need a static long-term option for the software.
Like the previous release, Office 2019, Office 2021 is designed for personal and small business users who don’t want to subscribe to the company’s cloud service, Microsoft 365.
While we don’t yet have full details on what kind of feature changes or additions Office 2021 has in store, The Verge points out that Microsoft is likely to make major changes to Office products to their subscription-based Microsoft 365 first.
Shapiro says in the blog post that Office 2021 is supported for five years and that the prices for the one-time purchase will remain the same for personal and small business users, although the price of Office Professional Plus, Office Standard and individual Office app purchases will increase by 10%.
Office LTSC is for businesses that need a time-locked Office option
“The cloud is where we invest, where we innovate, where we discover the solutions that help our customers to help everyone in their organization, even as we all adapt to a new world of work,” Shapiro writes. “But we also recognize that some of our customers need to enable a limited set of locked scenarios, and these updates reflect our commitment to help them meet this need.”
Microsoft’s new Office LTSC option is intended for commercial activities that, for whatever reason, cannot update their software often or even at all, either out of practical necessity or out of legal compliance.
“New Office LTSC features include accessibility enhancements, capabilities like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel, dark mode support for multiple apps, and performance improvements in Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint,” Shapiro writes. It doesn’t come with Skype for Business, but it does come with Microsoft Teams.
It doesn’t have cloud access, but as with previous releases, Office LTSC is offered with a perpetual, device-based license. Microsoft plans to release a preview of Office LTSC in April, with a full release sometime later this year. There is no word yet on when Office 2021 will be available, although the company does not plan to release a preview prior to release.