October 25, 2021

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Microsoft Office 2021 Launches on Oct. 5

If you’re not a fan of a subscription-based Microsoft 365, there’s good news: A new consumer version of Microsoft Office that only requires a one-time purchase is launching on Oct. 5. 

Microsoft announced the news in a blog post on Thursday. The aptly titled Office 2021 for consumers arrives the same day as Windows 11. 

For now, the company is remaining mum on details, such as pricing. But it has published a document detailing the new features in the office suite. They include a new translation function in Outlook, improved performance across the apps, and an updated draw tab. 

The product provides an alternative to the cloud-based version of Microsoft Office, now dubbed Microsoft 365. For consumers, Microsoft only charges $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year to use the service. But over time, an ongoing subscription can get pricey.

Office 2019, on the other hand, only involves a one-time $149.99 fee. So it can represent better value over the long haul. But on the downside, Microsoft doesn’t upgrade the software with new features, save for security updates and bug fixes. 

For years now, Redmond has been publicizing Microsoft 365 over the non-subscription-based Office suite. That’s raised questions over whether the company might one day discontinue the conventional Office programs. However, last year Microsoft confirmed a successor to Office 2019 for both Windows and Mac would arrive in the second half of 2021.

Consumers will still need to wait a few more weeks for Office 2021. But in the meantime, the company has decided to begin releasing the commercial-grade version, dubbed Microsoft Office Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), to enterprise customers. 

In the same blog post, Microsoft says it’ll keep releasing the non-subscription-based Office for at least one more generation. “While this will not be our last perpetual release, we continue to make investments that make it even easier for customers to adopt Microsoft 365.”

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