Software

Microsoft announces subscription-free version of Office 2024, with caveats

No subscription fees, but fewer features.
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Microsoft is launching a subscription-free version of its Office suite that will be available as a commercial preview as soon as April, possibly relieving some enterprises of another paid subscription.

Beta News reported that Microsoft will offer Office 2024 via the Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) as a one-time purchase, including support for five years. Microsoft will also release a subscription-free consumer version of Office, also with five years of support.

Microsoft’s TJ Devine announced in a March 15 blog post that Office 2024 LTSC will ship without Publisher, which the company is retiring, or Teams, which is available to download elsewhere. The LTSC version’s five-year “perpetual license” will only include “a subset of the value found in Microsoft 365 Apps,” Devine wrote.

As TechSpot observed, Microsoft is reserving certain AI-powered capabilities for users going the subscription route. The Redmond-based giant has emphasized AI features as the biggest selling point of future releases of its enterprise productivity apps.

“While Office LTSC 2024 offers many significant improvements over the previous Office LTSC release, as an on-premises product it will not offer the cloud-based capabilities of Microsoft 365 Apps, like real-time collaboration; AI-driven automation in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint; or cloud-backed security and compliance capabilities that give added confidence in a hybrid world,” Devine wrote.

Microsoft is also raising the prices of Office LTSC Professional Plus, Office LTSC Standard, Office LTSC Embedded, and individual apps by 10% as part of the arrangement. According to Devine, the company has also committed to another subscription-free Office LTSC release in the future.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.