Microsoft confirms standalone Office 2024 is coming to Windows and Mac later this year

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In brief: Upon launching Office 2021 a little over two years ago, Microsoft confirmed that it would release at least one more non-subscription edition of its ubiquitous productivity package. The first details of that update emerged this week. Office LTSC 2024 is available starting next month, with a consumer version arriving later this year.

Microsoft plans to roll out a new one-time purchase edition of Office for Windows and macOS throughout 2024 – the productivity suite’s first significant update since Office 2021 launched alongside Windows 11. Office LTSC will cost 10 percent more while the consumer edition maintains its current price.

Redmond’s announcement primarily focused on the Office Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC), which enters commercial preview in April. This version is mainly for enterprise systems that cannot maintain the constant internet connections that the cloud-based Microsoft 365 requires. Information on feature updates for the consumer variant will likely emerge later.

While Microsoft didn’t delve deep into LTSC 2024’s improvements, it confirmed that Excel will receive dozens of new features, including Dynamic Charts and Arrays. The update also improves the search and meeting creation tools in Outlook. However, Office 2024 will not include Publisher, as Microsoft plans to sunset the application in 2026.

Oddly, Microsoft omitted AI-based tools for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from the perpetual license edition of Office due to Redmond’s plans for an aggressive subscription-based AI push this year. The company packaged its Copilot AI assistant with Windows 11 23H2, and 24H2 will enhance it and other AI features using the NPUs in the latest AMD and Intel processors. It seems Microsoft wants to restrict its new AI features to subscribers, as standalone Office owners will not qualify for Copilot Pro, an enhanced version of the assistant based on GPT-4 Turbo.

Office 2024 will support Windows 11, Windows 10, and macOS. It will be available for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Like previous editions, the LTSC and consumer versions of Office 2024 receive five years of feature updates through mainstream support, followed by an “extended support” period that only includes security updates. Extended support for Office 2016 and Office 2019 ends in October 2025. Additionally, Microsoft confirmed plans to release at least one more standalone edition of Office.

Although the official MSRP for Office starts at $149, deals offering the software for a fraction of that price have regularly appeared for years. Right now, budget-minded buyers can pick up Office Professional Plus 2019 for $39 and Office 2021 for $45. It’s unclear how quickly similar deals could emerge for Office 2024.

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