Microsoft today announced that it will release a new Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of its Office productivity suite. Office 2021 for Windows and Mac will be released by the end of 2021 and will be supported for five years.
Microsoft Office 2021
This new version of Office replaces Office 2019 and is not to be confused with Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). Microsoft 365 is the subscription service and Office applications are continually updated with new features. Of course, if you don’t pay you will lose access to it. If you buy a perpetual license of Office 2021 you own it forever. But you don’t get new features over time like with the subscription version. Also, it will be supported for only five years compared to the seven years of support for Office 2019.
We also plan to release Office 2021 for personal and small business use later this year. Office 2021 will also be supported for five years with the traditional “one-time purchase” model. We do not plan to change the price for these products at the time of the release. We will announce more details about new features included in Office 2021 closer to general availability.
Microsoft isn’t detailing all of the features and changes in Office 2021 just yet. But the LTCS variant will include things like dark mode support across multiple apps, accessibility improvements, performance improvements across Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, and features like Dynamic Arrays and XLOOKUP in Excel.
There are some changes in what the next version will ship with as well. Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 continues:
The next version of Office will not ship with the Skype for Business client app, which will be available as a download in the Microsoft Download Center. It will ship with the Microsoft Teams app, allowing customers to enable and trial this experience if they so choose.
In contrast, Microsoft 365 will continue to get the latest innovations in modern collaboration, advanced security, and intelligent capabilities and ship them as soon as they are available.
Microsoft will provide more details about new features included in Office 2021 closer to general availability.
This new version is for small businesses who want to do a one-time purchase and support it on-prem. Also, for individuals who aren’t quite ready to pay for the subscription or move to the more cloud-based nature of Microsoft 365.