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Microsoft axes Office 2019 from 'Home Use Program'

As expected, Microsoft has dumped the perpetually-licensed Office 2019 from its "Home Use Program" agreements with organizations that license the productivity software for the workplace.

Home Use Program (HUP) is one of the benefits provided by Software Assurance (SA), in turn either included with some Office licensing categories or optional with others. Although SA may be best known for granting upgrade rights to the next version of a "perpetual" license - such as Office 2019 - it also is included with some subscription-based licensing of, for instance, Office 365 or its more inclusive big sister, Microsoft 365.

The idea: Let employees buy the same Office suite that they use at work, then run the suite on their home PC. Employers liked the idea because it implicitly encouraged employees to work at home.

HUP has long offered employees of eligible organizations discounts on perpetual Office licenses, those purchased with one-time payments that grant the user rights to run the software as long as desired, theoretically in perpetuity. But earlier this year, Microsoft modified HUP to offer consumer-grade subscriptions to Office 365 as well.

At the same time, Microsoft made clear that the one-PC-per-license deals were obsolete and likely to be retired from HUP.

They now have been.

"Office Professional Plus 2019 and Office Home and Business 2019 are no longer available as Home Use Program offers," Microsoft said in a revised FAQ about HUP.

Instead, Microsoft offered annual subscriptions to Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home for $69.99 and $48.99, respectively, a 30% discount.

Subscriptions purchased through HUP will extend existing Personal and Home plans the employee may already have, and once bought at the discount, all future renewals will be at the lower price, even if the buyer no longer works for the organization. The only requirement is that "you maintain recurring billing on your subscription," according to the FAQ.

The move is in step with Microsoft's emphasis on Office 365 and its rent-not-buy model. Although Microsoft continues to offer perpetual licenses in several forms and has pledged to follow Office 2019 with at least one successor, the company has made no bones about preferring to sell recurring subscriptions.

More information about HUP - and instructions on how to determine eligibility - can be found on this website.

This story, "Microsoft axes Office 2019 from 'Home Use Program'" was originally published by Computerworld.