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article imageMicrosoft announces Office 2019 as alternative to cloud software

By James Walker     Sep 26, 2017 in Technology
Microsoft has announced a new version of its Office desktop productivity suite that will arrive late next year. Office 2019 is likely to be the last perpetual Office edition as Microsoft pushes users to move to its cloud-based Office 365 workspace.
Perpetual software licenses are now out of fashion with companies like Microsoft more focused on selling recurring subscriptions for their online products. Office was one of Microsoft's first services to follow this trend, starting its migration towards subscription billing with Office 365's launch. The service was unveiled alongside the 2013 versions of the suite's desktop client apps.
Since then, Microsoft has emphasised the benefits of purchasing Office 365. It claims that regular monthly app updates, free OneDrive cloud storage and built-in enterprise features for workplaces offer a more complete platform than the perpetually licensed desktop software. Microsoft knows not every firm's ready to embrace the cloud though, explaining today's muted announcement of Office 2019.
Confirmed during the company's Ignite conference, Microsoft said the updated suite will add new features for end users and IT managers "who aren't yet ready for the cloud." The company's short blog post doesn't elaborate much on the new capabilities being added.
Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook 2016
Screenshot of Microsoft Outlook 2016
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Microsoft mentions improved inking options, more charts and formulas in Excel and new transition types for PowerPoint. Most of these features are already available as monthly updates for Office 2016 via 365, signalling the 2019 label is more about bringing perpetual customers up-to-date with their cloud-based counterparts. Microsoft said the package will be a "valuable upgrade" for firms who want to buy software outright and keep it on their premises.
"We recognize that moving to the cloud is a journey with many considerations along the way," said Microsoft. "Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all of their apps and servers on-premises, and we look forward to sharing more details about the release in the coming months." Cloud software can boost collaboration and productivity in a workplace environment, creating a more efficient team. Not everyone wants to pay a monthly subscription or utilise the cloud aspects though.
The people who still want Office as a perpetual product range from university students to global enterprises. As much as Microsoft wants users to switch to the cloud, today's announcement shows there's still an audience for perpetual software. The cloud is coming but it's still yet to win over many of Microsoft's important long-term customers.
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