Last year, Microsoft Office users who refused to switch to a subscription model were excited to hear that the company was intending to release a new version of the suite that would not require a subscription. Microsoft has now announced that Office 2021 will be released this year.
While Microsoft would want you to subscribe to Office because of the “widely accepted benefits,” it realizes that some customers can’t or won’t make the switch to the cloud. As a result, Office 2021 will be launched “later this year” for customers and small businesses.
But there is still little information on what to expect from this latest edition, Microsoft has revealed some new information. First and foremost, pricing will remain unchanged from Office 2019. Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019 is $149.99, while Microsoft Office Home & Company 2019 is $249.99. The license is for a single user/PC/Mac in both cases.
Microsoft has announced that Office 2021 would be available for both Windows and Mac users and that it will include the OneNote software in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. While the majority of users would benefit from the 64-bit version, it’s nice to see that support for older hardware is still available. Finally, Microsoft has promised to support Office 2021 for five years, giving you peace of mind.
Microsoft is announcing two new Office models today: a business version called Office 2021 and a commercial version called Office LTSC. Office 2021 will be available later this year for Windows and macOS, and it’s built for those who don’t want to subscribe to the cloud-based Microsoft 365 versions, similar to the previous Office 2019 release.
Microsoft hasn’t announced all of Office 2021’s features and updates yet, but the Office LTSC (Long-Term Servicing Channel) version will include dark mode support, usability enhancements, and Excel features like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP. Similar features will be available in Office 2021.
There aren’t going to be any big UI improvements here, either. Visually, dark mode is the most visible improvement, but Microsoft will continue to prioritize the Microsoft 365 versions of Office for the majority of its interface and cloud-based functionality.
However, Microsoft’s Office LTSC is a strong acknowledgment that not all of its company customers are able to switch to the cloud. In an interview with The Verge, Jared Spataro, the head of Microsoft 365, says, “It’s just a matter of trying to reach customers where they are.”
“We have a lot of customers who have switched to the cloud in the last 10 months, and it’s happened in a major way. Around the same time, we have consumers who have unique situations in which they do not think they should switch to the cloud.”
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