Microsoft: 'Metro-Style' Office not due until 2014

Microsoft: 'Metro-Style' Office not due until 2014

Summary: The 'Metro-Style' versions of Microsoft's core Office applications won't be out until 2014, Microsoft officials are confirming.


Microsoft officials are showing off a quick sneak peek of one of the coming "Metro-Style" Office applications today, during the opening keynote of its Build 2013 developer conference.

During the June 26 keynote, Microsoft officials will show an alpha version of the Windows Store version of PowerPoint as a way to demonstrate that developers can build powerful "Metro-Style"/Windows Store business applications. The Metro versions of PowerPoint, Word, Excel and OneNote are codenamed "Gemini," as I've blogged previously.

A Microsoft spokesperson told me this week that the new Gemini apps will be available in the Windows Store in 2014. The word is that delivering these Gemini apps next year has always been the Office team's "plan of record."


As I've blogged, that's not what my sources have told me. I had heard the goal was to deliver these Gemini applications around October 2013, which would be around the time that new PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 (codenamed "Blue") would be hitting the market.

A Metro-Style version of OneNote already exists and Microsoft has updated it twice since it debuted in the fall of 2012. (A Metro-Style version of Lync also exists and just got updated this week.)

Microsoft also is committed to delivering Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of its other Office apps, like Publisher and Visio. Officials said there's no public timetable or additional information they are ready to share about how and when that will happen.

Delivering the Gemini Office applications months after Windows 8.1 is released seems to me more like something the old Microsoft rather than the new, more nimble Microsoft, would do. If Microsoft officials are not simply underpromising and actually planning to "overdeliver" by getting these apps into the Windows Store in 2013, the Office team won't have these new apps ready in time for holiday 2013 -- which may or may not matter in the grand, selling scheme.

Desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote already exist and will continue to work on Windows 8.1 (both the Intel- and ARM-based variants).

Topics: Collaboration, Microsoft, Software Development, 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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • This is cool.

    what about Office 365 Subscribers? Would they also get updates for these once they continue their subscriptions? If I buy a full Office Suite, would I also get Office for Windows Store or do I have to buy it seperately?
    Ram U
    • I'd suggest Office 365 subscription is required

      Microsoft are clearly trying to push the subscription model for Office with Office 365, so I would suggest it will work the same way that Office works on iPhone where it is included in your Office 365 subscription at no extra cost, and that you cannot buy it as a standalone.

      The only exception to this might be Windows RT, which once these launch I wouldn't be surprised if MS removed the desktop, and instead only offered the Modern UI environment, and these Modern versions of Office came bundled as a standalone without requiring a 365 subscription (in the same way MS offers standalone Office for Free with Windows RT devices)
  • Microsoft: 'Metro-Style' Office not due until 2014

    What a joke that day will be.....use Libre Office and be free of Microsoft once and for opinion
    Over and Out
    • Libre Office?

      Really? Do you do any real work outside of 9th grade English papers?
      • Business only?

        Libre is sufficient for the home user. Your "Real Work" comment is rude. Or is this a Commercial use only ZD site? My "Real Work" need is a word processor and spreadsheet that doesn't cost a fortune, does all I want, and is inexpensive. Libre has nearly a zero learning curve for any MS Office user and does all that I need.
      • Yes, Libre Office.

        Libre Office is MORE than sufficient for real work. It's damned powerful as a full office suite. I'm more than a power user. I'm a developer and it fits all my needs for an office suite.

        About the only big feature it doesn't do that MS Office does is integrate with SharePoint. If you're not using SharePoint, it's a non issue.

        LibreOffice is also available on Mac, Windows, AND Linux. On top of that, it's free. On top of THAT, it's also open source. So, if there's a feature you must have, you can add it.
        Software Architect 1982
    • 1998 called...

      ... It wants its office productivity suite back.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Business users need VBA/macros

      I'd say fine for home use. For business use, I can't function without macros/VBA. I have a hundred thousand lines of VBA code in Word, Excel, Access built up over years that I couldn't function without. Libre Office is a non-starter.
      Max Daru
      • Re: Business users need VBA/macros

        You mean, those same businesses who are stuck on Office 2003 because their macros don't work properly on 2007 or later?
    • Errr.....

      Taking anything a Linux user says in a Windows blog is like trusting politicians [that they won't be corrupt]. Hah!
    • not in Metro you can't

      while Libre Office is getting better it's stuck in the menu and toolbar era, and it won't install on Windows RT; it would be interesting to see The Document Foundation do a Windows Store Release. OTOH, one of the buggiest features is rendering ink in Word documents (not drawing ink, which isn't supported, just rendering saved ink).
  • Desktop Apps Are Not First Class Touch Apps

    It's disappointing to hear these will not be ready for the Christmas selling season. I think MS is missing another opportunity to convince folks that Win8 is a solid OS.

    The desktop office apps support touch, but there not first class touch apps. For example, the virtual keyboard on the desktop doesn't pop up or dismiss automatically as it does in Metro. Another annoyance is the task bar popping up when you put your hand on the display. I have a Surface Pro with pen and Office on the desktop in touch mode is just not the great experience it needs to be.
    • I largely agree

      I believe the Metro version of Office would legitimize Windows 8 touch PCs; would significantly differentiate Windows 8 from the competition; and would begin to significantly move higher priced PCs over the Christmas season.
      P. Douglas
    • Desktop Office needs to be retained however

      Power users and companies will still need VBA.
      • Agreed!

        MS will continue to offer Desktop variants of Office and its other productivity programs for a very long time. These new Modern variants are akin to how Apple brought iWork to iOS. It won't replace completely but it will be offered as another value point to an Office 365 subscription
  • Metro style

    Luckily they have begun to produce some decent Office replacements. Outlook is the only thing I will miss if they go Metro, because I won't.
  • Very much look forward to this.

    That means the desktop would be officially dead on Windows RT.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Hmmm

      Always confuses me why everyone HATES desktop on Windows RT. What is SO TERRIBLE about it? Sure it doesn't run apps other than Office, IE and some basic apps live Calculator, but in my opinion keeping the desktop there allows for MS to offer the more feature complete desktop version of Office which I think will be more powerful than the Modern versions for at least a few years
  • Confused - Believe it when I see it.

    So basically bigger buttons and ribbon icons then ?

    I will be dumbstruck if they can really pull off a Touch Friendly Excel spreadsheet editing. Interesting. If they can pull this off with some really innovative UI gadgetry like they have acheived in One Note, they will demonsstrate that they are still very much in the game.

    We will all be dissapointed, if all they do is biggish the size of icons.
  • Well, that sets my retirement date

    It's worth the 6.7% Social Security hit to avoid that steaming pile.