Microsoft Office 2024 will be available without subscription

Microsoft building

Microsoft has announced that the next subscription-free version of its Office suite will launch later this year. A commercial preview of Office LTSC 2024 will be available from next month, with a full launch scheduled for later in the year.

The Office Long-Term Servicing Channel is supported for five years, and it holds great appeal for the many businesses that are not keen on the idea of software subscriptions. There will also be a consumer-focused version of the suite, Office 2024, available via a traditional "one-time purchase" model.

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Microsoft does not exactly promote Office LTSC 2024 when it says that it "will include only a subset of the value found in Microsoft 365 Apps". The company would, of course, prefer to tie users into a subscription model, but is willing to admit that this is not always appropriate.

Announcing the impending launch of the software, Microsoft says:

We know that some customers have niche yet important scenarios that require a truly long-term servicing channel: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet, and specialty systems like medical testing equipment that run embedded apps that must stay locked in time. For these special cases, Microsoft continues to offer and support the Office Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC). Today we are pleased to announce that the commercial preview of the next Office LTSC release -- Office LTSC 2024 -- will begin next month, with general availability to follow later this year.

Office LTSC 2024 will ship without the soon-to-be-retired Microsoft Publisher, and also lacks Microsoft Teams -- although this can be downloaded separately.

The next version of Office will be available for macOS, Windows 10 and Windows 11, and there will be 32- and 64-bit versions. For consumers, Microsoft says:

We are also planning to release a new version of on-premises Office for consumers later this year: Office 2024. Office 2024 will also be supported for five years with the traditional "one-time purchase" model. We do not plan to change the price for these products at the time of the release. We will announce more details about new features included in Office 2024 closer to general availability. 

There is good news for the future as Microsoft is not giving up on subscription-free editions of Office. The company has pledged its "commitment to another release in the future".

More details are available here.

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