Microsoft has announced today two new updates for Office that are designed for long-term stability or complete distancing from the company’s cloud subscription model. These are the LTSC release of Office as well as Office 2021 perpetual.
With this release, Microsoft says they are bringing Windows 10 LTSC and Office LTSC into alignment which should make managing those types of devices a little bit easier. The intention of LTSC, or Long Term Servicing Channel iterations of Windows and Office, is to provide a version of the software that is infrequently updated for critical hardware that is typically not connected to the Internet.
The types of machines that should be using LTSC software are manufacturing hardware, medical equipment, or any other critical piece of hardware that is, hopefully, air-gapped from malicious threats.
With Windows 10 LTSC and Office LTSC updates, these iterations of the apps and OS will be supported for five years. The next update or version of Office LTSC will arrive in the second half of this year.
Along with the Office LTSC update, Microsoft is also announcing Office 2021 for consumers and small businesses. The company says that this version of Office will arrive later this year and the pricing will remain the same as previous iterations of Office perpetual.
Office 2021 will be supported for five years and this is the version of Office that is a ‘one-time purchase’. For those of you who do not like the SaaS model for software, aka Microsoft 365, this is the next major release.
But, as expected, Microsoft doesn’t want you to buy Office 2021, they want you to subscribe to Microsoft 365 as this provides you the latest updates for features as well as security enhancements. That being said, if you are in an environment that cannot use, or it is not desirable for a ‘connected’ version of Office, the 2021 release makes it possible to still use the popular productivity software without the SaaS overhead.