Microsoft confirms Outlook RT to arrive with Windows 8.1

Microsoft confirms Outlook RT to arrive with Windows 8.1

Summary: Microsoft officials confirmed plans to make Outlook RT available on ARM-based devices, including Surface RT, in conjunction with Windows 8.1, codenamed 'Blue.'


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....

Topics: Mobility, Collaboration, Microsoft, ARM, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Too Little, Too Late

    It's like they're dribbling an occasional stick or two just when the fire looks like it might go out, instead of piling on the wood to make a decent warming fire that will attract the cold, shivering punters. Why is Microsoft so afraid of bringing out a value-packed product? It's just leaving money on the table, and the market wide open to less-inhibited competitors. Like Android.
    • Ironic that you charge Microsoft with ...

      ... leaving money on the table, and in the same breath, you mention Android - which drove the price of tablets down to $199.

      Including Office 2013 RT on the Surface RT set the Surface RT apart from every other tablet on the market. Introducing it at $499 with twice the storage of the iPad was a stroke of genius. A good move for Microsoft. I find my Surface RT much more useful than my iPad ever was - I gave my iPad to my son. My Kindle Fire was no better - I gave it to my wife.
      M Wagner
      • Don't believe every thing you read.

        "$499 with twice the storage of the iPad was a stroke of genius."

        Not if you understood what they did. The iOS uses around a gig of available memory while the RT uses something around 12 GB of the available memory. These number are from memory and may be off a bit but when I looked at it at the time you really were only getting a little over 4GB more memory. Just another MS marketing tool to suck in the in ignorant.
        • True.... expect for the fact that...

          the iPad doesn't have expandable memory or the ability to plug in USB devices out of the box. You can also remove the recovery partition and move it to a flash drive to bring back 4GB of that.
          Lauren Glenn
        • I don't think that's right

          I thought I remember an article on one of the Ziff-Davis sites (or whoever owns them now) that the iPad has the same issue as the Surface, just less so.

          That being said, those advantages are lost on the consumer, they just see the price. MS probably would be doing quite well with these if they were $399. Sell one with a keyboard for $499. And marketing focuses on quality and Office.
      • Are the games any good?

        What about media playback?
        Anything good about it apart from boring old work?
      • Re: Ironic that you

        Is that some Alanis Morrisette definition of "ironic"?
    • I don't think that is it.

      Its not that they are holding back, the fact is the RT was a half baked product.

      MS missed the train big time on the whole mobile platform and they are now scrambling to catch up. Rather then put out a complete product they shipped what ever was ready at the time and figured the fan boys would buy it regardless which they did. The problem is Joe consumer sees this as a unfinished product with little software support and is spending his/her money on iOS and Android. The fact that MS is fire selling the RT confirms its poor market penetration.
  • Pricing

    The office on the windows RT is free. And if you compare the price of student&home edition office with the one with outlook, you could understand why Microsoft excludes the outlook from the free RT version.

    So is the outlook free on RT or will be charged with extra money?
  • Great news for RT users...

    Any idea of the cost or is it free?
    • Why should you care

      Whatever the cost, you'll pay for it like the good widdle tool that you are.
      • I realize you don't like this OwllllNet guy (or girl)

        But are comments like this necessary? They add absolutely nothing useful to the comment thread. Show a little restraint and act like a civilized human being.
        Sam Wagner
        • Then stop shilling

          And show some criticism for the product and it's limitations.
    • Free

      The upgrade from 8.0 to 8.1 is free.
    • It is Free

      According to the details on the $199 surface RT to students, Microsoft will be releasing Outlook RT for Free in an upcoming update.
  • Very Nice

    Many people "live" in Outlook, so an Outlook appliance tablet would be well worth the money, and then you get all the other apps as bonuses. Nice.

    The video also showed a peek at the resurrected Start button. Thank God, what a stupid mistake that was, and with the ability to put small tiles on the Metro start screen plus centralized control of the start screen through Group Policy, this should greatly help to overcome IT objections to upgrading. Just think if Microsoft had done this to begin with...we could skipped much of the noise and distraction...
    • Almost...

      I forgot, no domain join for RT, so no Group Policy, only Intune.
    • Start button resurrected?

      Apparently the Start button has reappeared, but not the Start Menu!! That, of course, is what everybody was asking for.
  • Microsoft confirms Outlook RT to arrive with Windows 8.1

    I know a couple of Microsoft Windows RT users who will be happy about this.
    • oh

      then you know ALL the windows RT users ;)