Microsoft to cut perpetual Office support by 50%, raise price by 10%

Microsoft plans to upgrade the “perpetual” Office for enterprises in the second half of the year, when it will also slash support to five years and raise prices by 10%.

The company’s multiple shots at the traditional form of licensing — dubbed “perpetual” because the license provides rights to run the software as long as one wants — are more evidence, if it’s needed, that Microsoft is eager to push, pull, and prod commercial customers into service-esque subscriptions.

Microsoft reiterated, seemingly for the nth time, that it is expending virtually all of its Office-related resources on the subscription-based Office 365 and Microsoft 365, and implied that anything but a subscription would be second rate and substandard.

What’s changing?

The upcoming changes to Office are among the most sweeping since Microsoft overhauled the suite’s development and release calendar with Windows 10’s launch.

Two versions: Rather than a single nameplate for all perpetual editions of Office, as in the past, there will henceforth be two. The next Office for consumers and small businesses will be labeled Office 2021, according to Jared Spataro, the executive who leads the Microsoft 365 group. But the SKU (stock-keeping unit) designed for enterprises and other large organizations will be pegged Office LTSC, the four-letter suffix referring to Long-term Support Channel, a term borrowed from Windows.

Support: The new standard support span for Office — both 2021 and LTSC — will be five years, not the 10 the suite once received. (The most recent version with a decade of support? Office 2016.) That doesn’t  even match the seven years given to Office 2019 (which leaves support in October 2025). The only SKUs previously provided with five years of support were those for the Mac (which always got less than the Windows versions).

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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