Are cheap MS Office perpetual lic deals OK?

Mac H eist and probably similar outfits sell MS Office 2021 perpetual licences for a surprisingly low price, last one I saw was $39.99 for “Microsoft Office Home & Business for Mac 2021”.

MS itself wants $249 (not $349 as the “Heist” offer claims).
Are these genuine licences, do they have any disadvantages?
Out of curiosity: How are such sellers able to go so low on price?

This was discussed here a while ago, I simply can’t find the contribution anymore.

Personal opinion: these are “clearance sales”. Perpetual Office licenses do just that - give you use of the product in perpetuity.

  • We have no idea what the cost to the reseller is. Who knows, they could have picked up a bunch of overstocked items from another vendor that needed to get rid of them to get them off the books. They could have negotiated a buik purchase deal. Typically resellers are free to charge whatever they want.

  • It’s a fair question to ask if the licenses are genuine. Feedback that I’ve heard say they are but I have no personal experience with them.

  • Perpetual licenses get no new features. Subscription licenses do. (and here come the comments about not using all the features)

  • No updates to Office 2021 after 2026 per Microsoft software lifecycle policy. As long as nothing breaks, you’re OK.

  • A “Perpetual” license does not mean that the product will continue to work on future macOS releases. It’ll continue to work with no additional cash outlay as long as you stay on the versions of macOS that Office 2021 is supported on. All bets are off when the next version of Office is released and Microsoft says that to run Office on a future macOS, you need to run their latest version.

Of course, your mileage may vary.


FYI: If you are interested in an Office 365 subscription, Costco sells (online) a 15 month license for $89.99 vs. Microsoft’s $99 for 12 months. That’s $6 a month and the software is updated fairly frequently.

Two older threads about this:

Also, I found this:

I bought one recently, perhaps from MacHeist, to install on a Mac Mini I’d purchased as a backup earlier this year. I bought Office 2011 standalone through Amazon in 2014 or 2015. Both have worked great.


Having read all of this advice I have decided to go for it. I paid $35.99 (+ UK VAT), Even discounted subscriptions from Mama Zon and other outlets are still substantially more expensive and are what they are: subscriptions.

In my opinion (yours may vary) any new features in the subscription based MS 365 are not really worth it. (@Technogeezer mentioned this above)

I noticed that MS requires to activate via the MS account. This is probably done to gain a tighter control over licensing. Activation worked instantly with the code I received after purchase.

My MS Office core apps (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook) are now (Oct 22) on the same version number as any 365 subscription.

Thanks to @jimblock @ashley, @Technogeezer and @dianed143


A few years ago I bought MS Office 2019 from for about $40. It was something like “Home and Business” for 3 computers; I have Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and Outlook. I installed it on two computers. I had purchased 2016 or maybe 2011 from them previously, but it seems they no longer have Mac software.

I got a physical USB stick with the installer, and as I recall there was a second, quick step to install the license. I did not get a license key at all. The About pane says “License: Volume License 2019” and there’s a Device ID.

It has worked perfectly. I have gotten all updates. I suppose I have not gotten new features, but my use is very basic so I don’t feel like I am missing anything.

I once had a question about OneNote and I called MS support. The fellow verified my free MS account but said there was no Office license and suggested maybe it was under a different email address. I said I only had the one. He said “I understand.” He then proceeded to answer my question. I was a little concerned that he might send the license police after me, but nothing has happened.

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Here’s another oddity, to say the least.

Last Friday I looked at the offer on the website I bought it from, it clearly said “Offer running out in 4 days”. Today, Tuesday, I looked again because a friend was also interested and I wanted to check if we can still get it. Surprise, surprise, it now says the offer will run out in 6 days.

Artificial time pressure to make you buy, nothing more. No problem for me anymore, but grrr and a bit laughable.

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I have a “perpetual” license for (ie, I bought) Office 16, only to discover that beside that awful ribbon taking up space on each document window and the loss of custom toolbars, customization to recreate some of the usefulness of custom toolbars requires a “350” subscription. (So I’m still using Word 14 (2011).)

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A few weeks ago, Techdirt had a deal for a perpetual license for Microsoft Office 2021 for one computer (either PC or Mac) for $30. This is a legitimate tech commentary site, so I bought it. I received my license key directly from Microsoft along with the order confirmation, as well as a confirmation from Techdirt.

The deal has expired (sorry, I didn’t think to post it here when it was live), but it will probably come around again. There’s no way to subscribe to only deals, but you can follow the complete Techdirt blog on Twitter (for the moment), Facebook, or via RSS feed. Deals are announced on the blog.

I did confirm with Microsoft that I will have to manually delete my volume license of Office 2019 from my Mac before installing 2021. To my knowledge, MS has never created an uninstaller for the Mac, though they appear to have one (or more) for Windows.