Office 365

Everything You Need To Know About the New Microsoft Office LTSC

While regularly updated software is important, stable versions of certain software can help maintain efficiency in ...


While regularly updated software is important, stable versions of certain software can help maintain efficiency in certain applications in your business. Learn everything you need to know about the new Microsoft Office long term servicing channel. In summary, this is a perpetual version of Office for special, ultra-stable device applications.

"Long Term Servicing Channel" Explained

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"Servicing Channel" is the Microsoft term for feature update frequency.

Another way to think about this using the term "branching." If you’re in the software business you might be familiar with branch management.

Microsoft LTSC software packages are long-term, non-updated versions. Their functions and interfaces don't change the same way that more frequently updated software sometimes does. As such, they are sold on different licenses.

When You Need LTSC

Major enterprises rarely need 100% Office LTSC. In fact, it is usually the minority of devices or workstations that use this particular licensing strategy.

In general, you would use LTSC when you have a highly stable application or for a specific use-case which can be found in the following sections.

The Difference Between LTSC and Other Formats

LTSC is a specialty device-specific perpetual license that does not receive feature updates. It is more expensive than other licensing formats by 10%. That extra price means no ongoing fees and, more importantly, no surprise new features that break your mission-critical application.  New features often aim to get ahead of business trends or enable new processes. They can take work to integrate them into your organization, but the idea is that the return will be greater than the investment. That's why more frequently updated cloud-based office software is such a great idea, in general.

When the New Office LTSC Comes Out

You should be able to test or implement the new version of Microsoft Office LTSC almost immediately.

How Long Support Is For the New Office LTSC

Microsoft has announced a fixed lifecycle policy for this release. Support is guaranteed for five years and there is a commitment to a new version after that.

What the New LTSC Contains

The new LTSC version contains much of what you are already familiar with from Microsoft Office's off-cloud versions. Some of the new features include:

  • Dark mode
  • Teams instead of Skype
  • Better accessibility
  • Performance improvements
  • Key additional features, including XLOOKUP and Dynamic Arrays in Excel

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Mac Version of LTSC

For those businesses that mostly or completely use Macs, the new Office long term servicing channel is available for Mac and Windows. As Apple is showing signs of transitioning to its new M1 ARM chip architecture in laptop computers, it should be interesting to see the interaction with the LTSC Office package.

Use Cases for LTSC

There are several use cases for an organization needing part of the user-base of the Office suite to need an LTSC version, such as:

LTSC for Regulated Devices

One of the popular applications for LTSC is regulated devices. Due to compliance requirements, it makes sense not to have to re-check these types of devices frequently. However, that is exactly what is necessary if the operating system or application suite of the device keeps changing.

LTSC ensures stability for these types of applications. New features do not introduce bugs, security risks or other unknown factors for one simple reason: There are no new features over the entire lifespan of the software.

LTSC for Process Control

Another popular type of device that uses LTSC licenses is process control in manufacturing and industry. This category of site or plant equipment is typically not directly connected to the internet for any number of reasons. This makes executing feature updates overly costly or, in some cases, impossible. Further, the mission-critical role of process control makes the stability of LTSC a benefit.

LTSC for Time-Locked Applications

The final main use case for the long term servicing channel is time-locked computing. This category contains anything that needs to be completely stable for utility purposes, as opposed to for regulatory or operational efficiency.

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Getting Set Up With LTSC

There are some key differences that could impact your business plans with this release of Microsoft Office — and the very existence of the new release is critical for some operations.

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