MICROSOFT'S LEGENDARY ‘we know what's good for you' fairies have struck again, this time over the future of ubiquitous drivel formatter Office.
In its infinite wisdom of what the customer wants, far outweighing the need to make a profit, the company has confirmed that users will no longer be able to buy a standalone copy of Microsoft Office 2019 as part of the Home Use Program. From now on, it's Office 365 subscriptions all the way.
For the uninitiated, the Home Use Program (HUP) is a scheme which allows users to buy the same software they use at work for their home computers at a discount. A notice on the HUP FAQ (OMG! ROFL) confirms that "Office Professional Plus 2019 and Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available".
If you're in a company that takes part in HUP, you'll now be offered a 30 per cent discount on a subscription instead - and that discount will carry on even if you leave your employer. Additionally, if you've already bought an outright plan, it'll keep working.
So that's the happy few - but what about the rest of us? Well, at the moment, there's no change - Office 2019 standalone is still available to buy. But it's no secret that Microsoft would dearly love to stop offering it and move everyone to the subscription model.
Be warned therefore that this could prove to be merely the beginning of an all-out cull of Office 2019 as a standalone product. We are fairly sure there's always going to be demand for a desktop client, but it'll be conditional on an ongoing fee to Microsoft, and if you've ever tried to use a throttled Microsoft Office app, well… don't.
The news will come as a welcome boost for alternative (and usually open source) alternatives such as LibreOffice, which was recently updated to v3.6 and Softmaker, which has just celebrated its 10th birthday with an almighty free update. μ
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