Office 2021 Is Coming, But How Does It Stack Up to Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 on a Mobile
Image credit: Tada Images /

Executive Summary

  • In February 2021, Microsoft announced their intention to release Office 2021 for small businesses and personal users “later this year”.
  • While details are sparse, we do know that Office 2021 will come in two versions: Office LTSC for businesses and Office 2021 for home and personal users.
  • While Office 2021 might be a good option in some circumstances, Get Support always recommends the subscription-based Microsoft 365 suite, which includes all Office apps (and a lot more).


Here’s a fun fact: the last time you could buy Microsoft Office on floppy disk was 1997.

How many floppy discs, you ask?


You read that right: forty-five floppy discs.

Today, installing Office is as simple as downloading a small executable file or installing an app.

Ah, how things have changed.

But plenty of other things have changed, too. And in 2021, they’re set to change again, with the introduction of Office 2021 and its slightly new way of doing things.

Here’s what you need to know.

What do we know about Office 2021?

Office 2021 was first announced in an official Microsoft blog post on February 18th 2021 – and it actually came as a bit of a shock to some.

While Office 2019 has been available for several years, thanks to the phenomenal popularity of Microsoft 365 (due in no small part to the rise of Microsoft Teams), many assumed that standalone versions of Office had gone the way of the dodo. In fact, we at Get Support even speculated that the next “perpetual” version of Office wouldn’t make an appearance until 2022 – if ever.

But, as we can see, we were all off the mark. Office 2021 is coming. But it’s not happening the usual way.

So, what’s changed? Well, Microsoft is actually planning to bring two versions of Office 2021 to market: one for businesses, known as Office LTSC, and one for home and personal users, with the usual Office 2021 branding.

Office LTSC vs. Office 2021

With such a shift in Microsoft’s release model for the upcoming standalone Office bundle, how does it all work? And what does each of these versions really offer?

Fear not – we’ve got the details.

  • Office LTSC is the version of Office 2021 designed for businesses. “LTSC” stands for Long Term Service Channel. It’s specifically designed to be used on systems which are static and won’t change over the next 5 or 10 years, such as those not connected to the internet. What does that mean in real terms? Office LTSC is essentially a collection of the Microsoft Office apps without any cloud-connected features. The LTSC model comes with a 10-year support cycle from Microsoft and customers can decide exactly how to receive updates – or even to skip them altogether to maintain the specific features at install.
  • Office 2021 is the “classic” standalone package of the Microsoft Office apps designed for use by home and personal users. It’ll be sold as a one-time purchase and Microsoft will support it with feature and security updates for the standard five years. Microsoft has already confirmed that the pricing of Office 2021 will remain the same as that of Office 2019. Microsoft has not announced the Office 2021 release date, but has said they will announce details “closer to general availability”.

Office LTSC or Microsoft 365: which is right for your business?

If you’re with us so far, you’ve probably noticed something about the 2021 release: it’s not really very useful for most businesses.

While the home and personal version will be updated for five years, the version for business – Office LTSC – is designed for very specific scenarios, such as closed systems on factory floors, and not for day-to-day business use. The lack of cloud features or connectivity means that businesses can’t use Office LTSC alongside the more online-focused way of working that most companies are employing today.

Why are Microsoft doing this? It’s simple: Microsoft 365 offers everything LTSC does… and more. It’s only natural that Microsoft would want to push business users towards its subscription-based version, simply because it receives far more regular updates and includes a lot more than just the core Office apps. And while it’s true that a subscription is a longer-term cost, it actually works out about the same over the term of the standalone version’s support.

The upside of choosing 365, of course, is that your support from Microsoft (and thus your security) won’t suddenly be switched off after a set number of years. Not only that, but Office LTSC won’t receive any “feature updates” for 2-3 years, and even then, customers can pick and choose what they install. It will still receive security updates, however. LTSC is a very specific use-case for certain types of businesses and – let’s face it – Microsoft 365 is the far superior choice for a modern business.

Don’t wait for Office 2021 – join the cloud revolution today

While there’s no doubt that the Office LTSC and Office 2021 standalone products might be a good option in very specific scenarios and home users, for the vast majority of UK businesses, Microsoft 365 is the clear choice.

If your business hasn’t yet dipped a toe into the world of cloud-based apps and services delivered by Microsoft 365, the Get Support team can help. As a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, we’re ideally placed to help you get up and running with 365.

To get the ball rolling today, call our team now on 01865 59 4000 or just enter a few details in the form below.

Latest From The Blog

Create a ChatGPT of Your Own with Microsoft Copilot Studio  

With Microsoft Copilot Studio, you can create your own AI-powered chatbot to assist customers, share internal knowledge, and more.

The Microsoft Planner 2024 Upgrade: What's New?

Dubbed the “new” Microsoft Planner, the popular Microsoft 365 productivity tool is getting a facelift in 2024. Here’s what’s new.

Microsoft Teams Premium: Should Your Business Upgrade?

Microsoft has powered-up the functionality of its popular Teams platform with Microsoft Teams Premium—but is it worth all the excitement?