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Microsoft doles out Office Long Term Servicing Channel for cloud refuseniks

Microsoft has grudgingly admitted that not everyone will want to ascend to its cloud with the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version of its Office cash cow.

Earlier this year, the Windows behemoth announced that it was axing the length of support. No longer would customers enjoy decade-long delight. Instead, support would last for just five years, in line with Windows.

The release of this perpetual version is for commercial and government customers. The consumer version, Office 2021, will turn up on 5 October and likely be drowned out by users realising their PCs won’t run Microsoft’s latest version of Windows because OEMs want the gravy train to keep rolling of more stringent hardware requirements aimed at improving the user experience.

While Microsoft was not shy in banging on about the benefits of the cloud in its post, it admitted: “We also know some customers aren’t ready to move to the cloud.”

Indeed they aren’t. Regulated environments can’t handle the frequency of Microsoft’s updates and not every device can be plugged into the internet. For those scenarios, there is the “locked-in-time” version of the productivity suite.

Microsoft added that this was not to be the last in the LTSC line, although it remains keen for customers to move to Microsoft 365.

Incidentally, the Windows maker is currently being sued in UK courts over its licensing practices. UK-based perpetual licence reseller ValueLicensing has alleged Microsoft has been urging customers to surrender perpetual licences in favour of Microsoft 365 subscriptions via some distinctly anticompetitive contract terms.

Still, for companies that don’t give a fig about Microsoft’s cloud and simply want to pay once, the LTSC edition remains an option. Even if support will not last quite as long as it once did. ®

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