Microsoft will make available as part of its upcoming Windows 8.1 "Blue" release of Windows client the rumored Outlook 2013 RT mail client, company officials confirmed on June 5.
Microsoft's Chief Financial Officer of Windows, Tami Reller, made the announcement during the Computex show in Taipei, claiming that Office RT is a top business and consumer feature request.
A preview of a Desktop -- not a Metro-Style/Windows Store -- version of Outlook that has been adapted to run on the ARM will debut with the Windows 8.1 RT operating system on June 26, 2013. When Microsoft releases to manufacturing Windows 8.1 RT (a date rumored to be some time around August or September this year), Outlook RT also will be delivered in final form, officials said.
Outlook RT will run on Microsoft's ARM-based Surface RT devices, as well as any/all other ARM-based Windows RT tablets and PCs. As I blogged earlier this year, it will be positioned as a complement, not a replacement to, the built-in Windows Mail client on Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs. Outlook RT will function the same as Outlook 2013, in terms of how it is installed and maintained.
Currently, Microsoft doesn't include Outlook as part of the Office Home & Student 2013 RT suite that it bundles with the Windows RT operating system. Only Word RT, Excel RT, PowerPoint RT and OneNote RT are included. All of these are Desktop versions, not Metro-Style/Windows Store apps. That said, Microsoft is building Metro-Style versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint (plus an updated version of Metro-Style OneNote) which it is expected to launch this fall as part of its "Gemini" wave of products.
Users both inside and outside Microsoft have been testing Outlook RT for the past few months.
At Computex, Reller also is said to have announced that Microsoft will be making available Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote available on Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets out of the box. The preinstallation of the core Office apps on x86-based Surfaces was expected by some after Microsoft recently announced that new 256 GB Surface Pros would be available in Japan with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OnetNote preinstalled. I asked Microsoft officials to confirm that these four apps will be installed by default on Windows 8.1 devices, but received no word back.
Update: It seems to be that only "smaller" x86-based Windows Blue devices will come preloaded with Office 2013 Home & Student.
A recently unearthed Microsoft roadmap indicated that Microsoft might be holding off on delivering Outlook RT until October 2014. Either that roadmap was old or Microsoft officials decided to accelerate the release of Outlook RT. Now I'm wondering whether other dates on that roadmap might be incorrect. If so, I'm curious whether the Softies might deliver Office for iOS and Android sooner than October 2014, as the roadmap indicated....