Monday, October 18, 2021

Microsoft releases new perpetual Office for enterprise

Microsoft last week announced the availability of the next edition of perpetual-license Office for commercial and government customers.

Dubbed “Office LTSC 2021,” as in “Long-term Support Channel,” the new Office suite was built as a subset of the feature catalog of Office 365 (and its more expensive, expansive sibling, Microsoft 365) that, once released, will live unchanged until it exhausts support.

“Keep in mind that Office LTSC 2021 includes only some, but not all, features that are available in versions of Office that come with a Microsoft 365 (or Office 365) plan,” Microsoft warned in a support document. “Office LTSC 2021 won’t receive any new features now that it has been released.”

These characteristics are just some of Office LTSC’s that Microsoft has long used to cast the perpetual license as second-class (or even third-class) when compared to the rent-not-buy Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Microsoft vastly prefers customers opt for the subscription plans of those latter product names because the revenue is first, never-ending and second, regular and thus knowable (more or less) in advance). It openly puts policies on perpetual license versions or limits what the software can do to push customers toward subscriptions.

The most notable new limitation to this iteration? A dramatic decrease in support: Office LTSC 2021 will be supported for only five years, half the time of most past Office suites (and two years shorter than the truncated-before-launch Office 2019). According to Microsoft’s support lifecycle site, Office LTSC 2021 will receive support to Oct. 13, 2026.

That support will consist of security updates and apparently only security updates. “Microsoft won’t provide code fixes to resolve non-security related problems,” the company spelled out on an online informational page.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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