Microsoft ships Office 2021 preview for Mac

Microsoft has made a couple of important announcements for Mac and iOS-using enterprises, including moves toward a new “perpetual” version of Office and improvements to its popular Teams collaboration app.

Why it matters: Anything Microsoft does with its productivity suite has a consequence for enterprise professionals, even those using Macs, iPads, and iPhones. After all, 650,000 US companies have standardized around Office, and Microsoft has more than 258 million monthly Office 365/Microsoft 365 users, including plenty who use the suite on Apple’s products. Boosted by COVID-19 and the shift to remote work, the company in October told us that its collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, now sees 115 million daily active users.

So, what’s new in Office?

Not every consumer or enterprise wants, needs, or can make use of the company’s subscription-based Microsoft 365, but the company wants to retain those customers, so it typically offers what it calls a “perpetual” version of the suite that doesn’t require a subscription and doesn’t receive feature updates.

With this in mind, Microsoft in February told us it would introduce a “pay once, use for five years” version of Office to replace Office 2019. Both Mac and Windows versions of Office 2021 will be made.

Microsoft also confirmed a business-focused product, Office LTSC, which is basically the same thing, but aimed at enterprises who keep systems offline.

“The next perpetual version of Office for commercial customers is built specifically for organizations running regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices that are not connected to the internet in manufacturing facilities, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term servicing channel,” the company said when it announced its plans.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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