The coding and testing phase of Microsoft's next generation Office productivity suite -- Office 2013 -- is complete, with the focus now shifting to distribution. It starts with pushing the software out to RTM, or Release to Manufacturing, which means it's available to OEMs and business partners.
"This is the most ambitious release of Office we've ever done," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office Division. "It spans the full family of Office applications, servers and cloud services. The new Office has a fresh, touch friendly design that works beautifully on Windows 8 and unlocks modern scenarios in social, reading, note-taking, meetings and communications. We are proud to achieve this milestone and are eager to deliver this exciting release to our customers."
Microsoft's touch-centric suite will begin rolling out in mid-November, a few weeks after the release of Windows 8. Office 365 Enterprise customers will get first crack at the new software in the next service update, as well as Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance and IT professionals and developers with a TechNet or MSDN subscription. General availability will follow sometime in the first quarter of 2013.
Starting October 19, anyone who purchases Office 2012 from a local retailer or reseller will be eligible to receive a free upgrade to Office 2013 when it launches.