A new perpetual licence version for Office will be released in the second half of 2021, Microsoft announced on Tuesday at the Ignite 2020 virtual event.
While the company did not disclose the name of the product, it did reveal that the new version of Office will be available for Windows and Mac.
The details regarding the official name, pricing and availability of the product will be disclosed later, the company said.
When Microsoft released Office 2019, the current version of Office, in September 2018, many people speculated that it would be the last perpetually licenced version of the product and that the company would push Office users to Microsoft 365, its subscription-based licensing model.
But Microsoft never commented on such rumours, saying that it would take a decision based on the customers’ preferences.
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that offers users most up-to-date modern productivity tools from Microsoft. Microsoft 365 plans are offered for home and personal use, as well as for large enterprises, small and mid-sized businesses, and other entities.
With a subscription plan, customers get the benefit of using their Office apps on multiple PCs, tablets, Macs and phones. A subscription also enables users to receive support, product updates and security patches from the company.
Office 2019, on the other hand, is sold as a one-time purchase, meaning that users are required to pay a single, up-front price to install Office on one device. Office 2019 comes with no upgrade options. If a user wants to upgrade the Office version, they will have to buy the next major release at full price.
At the Ignite 2020 event, Microsoft official also gave details of the next versions of server products. The company said that it will release the next versions of SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, Project Server and Skype for Business Server in the second half of 2021, and all those versions will be available only through a subscription licence.
“The next version of Exchange Server will support in-place upgrades from Exchange Server 2019 for a period of approximately two years following release,” the company said.
“This feature will allow the admin to easily upgrade existing servers running Exchange Server 2019 to the subscription-based codebase without needing to add servers or move mailboxes.”
Microsoft also said that it plans to add several new features to Teams over the next several months to make the tool more useful for remote and on-site workers.