Microsoft announced the availability of a subscription-free Office 2021 package in the second half of this year. This means customers only have to pay one time and they can enjoy the software package for life. The software giant also announced the application bundle is available for both Windows and macOS systems.

Last year, the company promised that it would release a perpetual version or a one-time purchase for its Microsoft Office later in 2021. With its recent announcement, it appears that Microsoft is keeping its promise of delivering a subscription-free package of the popular software, which includes Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This would allow users to avoid any monthly subscription fee as they typically would when using the cloud-based Microsoft 365 service.

A report published at online news outlet Apple Insider also revealed that the software giant plans to release a Microsoft Office variant designed for consumers and small businesses, as well as its Long-Term Servicing Channel version. Like the company's Office 2019, both versions are perfect for those who wanted to use the basic applications for a few years without availing of any updates.

Last year, Microsoft transformed Office 365 into Microsoft 365, a service that features more functionality to the software collection. However, users need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $7 for an individual plan, and those who opt for a family plan, which allows up to six users, would have to pay $10 every month.

In an official Microsoft blog post on Thursday, the company emphasized its focus is still with Microsoft 365, the subscription version of the software package. Nevertheless, it will release the one-time purchase version for those who do not want to shift to the cloud version.

Microsoft has offered to fill the void if rival Google follows through on a threat to turn off its search engine in Australia, Photo: AFP / Jason Redmond

Microsoft explained that the LTSC variant includes its latest updates such as the Dark Mode and accessibility enhancements. It will also include features like XLOOKUP and Dynamic Arrays in Excel. While many believe the consumer version of Microsoft Office 2021 will most likely include these features too, the company is not providing more details at the moment, at least perhaps until several days before the release date.

The company, however, said that there is a slight change with the support window for the LTSC version of its Office 2021. Instead of the typical seven years, its support window will only have five years, with its cost having an increase of around ten percent. The software giant also said the software bundle would be available in both 32 and 64-bit variants. Microsoft said that the preview version of its Office 2021 LTSC would be available in April, and its official release would be in the second half of this year. The company did not specify whether it is also planning the same release period for the consumer version of its Office 2021.