New MS Office won’t require a subscription when it arrives next year

For the longest time, the use of Microsoft Office has been based on a Netflix-esque subscription scheme. This is all going to change next year as Microsoft announced through their Exchange Team blog post that the next iteration of their office software will be a perpetual release.

The said release was hinted in the Exchange Team blog post that stated that “Microsoft Office will also see a new perpetual release for both Windows and Mac, in the second half of 2021.”

For the past years, Microsoft has promoted its key Office applications such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook, via Microsoft Office 365, which is a subscription-based service that granted access to the said apps.

Office 365 includes the three basic Office Applications with extra perks for OneDrive with an additional 1 TB Storage which can be used to backup files, photos and videos and many more. Office 365 was sold for $100 for its family plan and 70$ for a personal subscription. Universities and academic institutions on the other hand benefit from Office 365 Education which provides the Office package including access to Skype, OneDrive and other Microsoft tools.

Although there’s a workaround that would allow a user to “use” Microsoft Office with the help of a Microsoft Account (think of it as a Google Account to access Google office tools), this would still limit the user-experience as local installation is still not possible.

An alternative to the Office 365 conundrum was Office 2019, which was the last perpetual release of the Microsoft Office tools. This was a bundle of basic Office applications for $150 with different plans and different packages available for different kinds of consumers. Other packages that include services such as for Skype, SharePoint and Exchange which are key business tools and software provided by Microsoft are also available for a different package and at a different price point.

Why go for a perpetual license?

A lot of consumers would actually prefer a one-time purchase of products considering that there are a significant number of consumers who actually find subscription-based payments to be an inconvenience. A one-time purchase in which consumers get to use the product indefinitely without having to make monthly payments which can eventually add up after a long period of time.

In terms of content and application changes, one complaint towards the subscription model is that it does not fit the amount of updates and content changes that the app undergoes. This however does not undo the fact that the OneDrive storage perk, customer service and even the ability to “split” the bill with family members can lower down the subscription cost to a tolerable amount, the right bang-in-the-buck cost that a more typical perpetual license would cost.

While there has been no official announcement regarding the price, exact release date and key details of the next iteration of Microsoft ubiquitous office suite, the perpetual license likely means that a significant number of businesses, as well as an even bigger number of individual users, are likely looking forward to this new release.

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