In one sentence contained in a blog post, Microsoft confirmed that the next stand-alone perpetual version of Office to Windows and MacOS will be coming in the second half of 2021.
This version of Office, which isn’t based on a subscription model, is the follow-up to Office 2019, which can be purchased as a one-time free offer.
Continuing on the pattern of one perpetual release every three years, this version of Office should be similar to Office 2019, and Office 2016 which proceeded it. However, Microsoft only confirmed that details about the official names, pricing, and availability of all these products “will be coming later.” Still, this offers hope for those who believed that Office 2019 might be the last perpetual version of Office.
But what does this mean? As a perpetual release, this version of Office would be a one-time purchase. It will likely guarantee access to the 2021 version of Office apps including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It also means the next time a new version of Office is released, you’d have to pay again to upgrade.
This is different from the subscription model of Microsoft 365, which always includes the latest version of Office (Word, Excel, etc) for a yearly fee, in addition to a bonus 1TB of storage on OneDrive for documents, photos, and more. Microsoft 365 family plans cost $100 a year and Microsoft 365 personal plans cost $70 a year and it allows for installs on multiple PCs or Macs. In comparison, Office 2019 costs $150, but it is “buy to own,” for install on only one PC or Mac without the worry of subscriptions.
Access to the Microsoft Office apps is also offered for free in select schools and part of certain Microsoft 365 business subscriptions. However, some students and businesses prefer owning the physical version of Office, without worrying about subscriptions.
As Office 2019 is currently priced at $150, it’s likely that the next consumer version of Office could come in around the same price range. It’s also likely to include access to the same apps as does Office 2019, which currently includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Skype and Outlook are not included in consumer versions of Office 2019 but do come bundled in Office Home and Business 2019. It’s likely we could see a Home and Business version of the next version of Office, in addition to Home and Student, too.
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