Microsoft previews perpetual license Office LTSC to enterprises

Microsoft last week released to corporate customers a preview of the next pay-once, perpetual license version of its Office suite.

The application bundle — by far the productivity standard in business — came with a mouth-twisting name change: Office LTSC Professional Plus 2021. As it did in February when it revealed some information about the successor to Office 2019, Microsoft again argued that the new suite is a limited-use option for enterprises.

“The next perpetual version of Office for commercial customers is built specifically for organizations running regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices that are not connected to the Internet in manufacturing facilities, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term servicing channel,” the Microsoft 365 team wrote in an April 22 post to a company blog.

Microsoft saddled the corporate perpetual license with LTSC, for Long-term Support Channel, to tie Office to Windows 10 LTSC, which has long been begrudged by Microsoft as perhaps a necessary option, but one it’s not keen to offer.

Essentially, Microsoft is only making plainer its preference for subscription-based Office — sold in Office 365 and Microsoft 365 plans — over an all-on-premises productivity ecosystem, of which Office LTSC will be a cornerstone (and which Office 2019 serves as now).

On Windows, the preview can be installed only via enterprise tools, including the Office Deployment Tool (ODT), available as a download from Microsoft, and the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager. The preview of Office LTSC Professional Plus 2021 must, like production-grade editions, be activated; Microsoft has provided instructions for using ODT and Configuration Manager, as well as the necessary keys, in this support document.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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