Office 2013 has entered its final stage of development. With coding and testing complete, the latest version of Microsoft’s productivity suite has reached RTM (release to manufacturing) and the company has laid out plans for its general release.
Moments after reaching the milestone, Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice-president of Microsoft Office, posted the announcement to Office News.
“This is the most ambitious release of Office we’ve ever done,” he wrote. “It spans the full family of Office applications, servers and cloud services.”
The overhaul of Office was required to complement the release of Microsoft’s new touch-enabled operating system, Windows 8. General availability of Office 13 is planned for the first quarter of 2013 and a preview version for Windows RT will be revealed at the Windows 8 launch on 26 October.
In this final phase of the productivity suite’s development, business customers will begin to get early access to programmes for testing and piloting. New capabilities will be rolled out to Office 365 Enterprise customers in the next service update in November, while Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance will be able to download Office 2013 and other Office products through the Volume Licensing Service Centre by mid-November. IT professionals and developers will also be allowed to download the final version via their TechNet or MSDN subscriptions at this time.
For consumers, purchases of Office 2010 from 19 October onwards will come with a free upgrade to the new suite upon release. In the meantime, a preview of the new apps is available now.