Microsoft: New Office has RTM'd

Microsoft: New Office has RTM'd

Summary: The next version of Microsoft Office client, servers and services will be rolling out to select customers before the end of the year.


Microsoft officials are finally going public with the planned timeline for Office Next/Office 2013. 


First up is release to manufacturing (RTM). Believe it or not, the next version of Office has RTM'd today, October 11 -- at least a month earlier than my sources and many Microsoft customers, partners and pundits were predicting.

(A quick aside: The naming of the clients, servers and services known by codename Office 15 is fairly confusing. Products with "2013" in the name -- like Office 2013 or Exchange Server 2013 -- seem to be the on-premises/locally installed versions. "Office Next" seems to be the way Microsoft is referring to versions of Office sold on a subscription basis, as well as cloud versions of its Office wares, such as the next version of Exchange Online.)

In an Office News blog post on October 11, Microsoft execs noted what they've been trickling out recently: the set of client apps, servers and services in the "Office 15" wave will be released in several stages.

Volume licensees will be able to get their hands on the RTM bits as of mid-November 2012. (TechNet and MSDN subscribers will get the same access). Office 365 subscribers also will get all the new hosted-server bits starting in mid-November. 

In Q1 2013, the new Office releases will be generally/commercially available to consumers. In other words, that's when the new home and small-business subscription-based versions of Office -- branded as Office 365 -- will be available for purchase. I've been hearing February 2013 is the date when this will happen. But given the Office team has RTM'd earlier than expected, maybe the Office 365 Home Premium, Small Business Premium and Office 2013 releases will be early too....

Microsoft released the one and only public beta of the new Office client, server and services wares, known as the Customer Preview, in July of this year.

Microsoft officials said earlier this fall that the Windows RT version of Office Home & Student -- which will be included with Windows RT-based machines, including the Microsoft Surface RT -- will start rolling out to users as of early November

The new version of Office Web Apps, the Webified versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, are due to start rolling out in late October to Office 365 subscribers, Microsoft officials confirmed this week.

Update: Over on the Windows SuperSite, Paul Thurrott is reporting that one of his sources is saying Office for iOS and Android tablets is still coming around spring 2013, but in the form of some kind of subscription service, rather than locally installable products.

Topics: Collaboration, Cloud, Microsoft


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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  • They have really been moving at an amazing pace lately.

    Awakened the sleeping giant.
    Johnny Vegas
    • Agreed.

      Now I am waiting for it to hit the subscribers accounts.
      Ram U
    • I'm betting ...

      ... that the "giant" will sort of grumble and snort and fall right back asleep again.
      • Rational guy?

        I would rather say disgruntled and petty...

        When you see something amazing, acknowledge and celebrate it, regardless of where it's coming from.
        • We have different definitions of "amazing".

          Microsoft = Ridiculous attempt to transform itself into "devices and services" company simply by declaring itself to be so, not by actually shifting its revenue streams to devices and services.

          Windows 8 = Half-assed attempt at a tablet OS. Sold as best of both world (tablet and desktop). Best of neither. Bad at both. An afterthought touch menu bolted onto Windows 7.

          Surface = Not a tablet. Even Microsoft's "beauty shots" of the device reveal its primary use will be as a laptop. A bad laptop with a crappy rubber keyboard.

          Office 13 = Another half-assed attempt to "tabletize" their aging product line. To give it its due, Office remains the gold standard of office suites. Excel kicks ass and Outlook is the best corporate e-mail client bar none.

          I'm not disgruntled or petty. I'm disappointed. Microsoft is sitting on top of two very interesting technologies - Kinect and the UI-formerly-known-as-Metro. If you combine them, and have a little believe in what you do, you can change the way people use computers. Touch is catching on, because on a properly designed UI, gesture-based interfaces can be fast, simple and effective.

          So, put a Kinect on top of everyone's monitor like a web cam, couple that with a fully-implemented Metro-style OS -- not one where you have a little Metro menu and then just downshift into Windows 7 -- and you change the world.

          Instead, Microsoft punked out. They are stuck in a "legacy support" mentality. They need to kill the desktop as we know it and reinvent it. If they had the guts to do that, I'd be excited. Instead, they serve us up a gray, lumpy, warmed-over pile of meh.
          • Not even worth an answer

            Faith based argumentation. Not worth an answer.
          • Questions

            Outside of reading about Surface how do you know that it is "a bad laptop with a crappy rubber keyboard"?
            First paragraph: And you know this how - except from other bloggers' opinions?
          • How I know ...

            [i]Outside of reading about Surface how do you know that it is "a bad laptop with a crappy rubber keyboard"?[/i]

            Because Microsoft is marketing it as a laptop. Just look at the beauty shots of Surface in the Gallery on Microsoft's Surface website. There isn't a single picture of Surface being used as a tablet. Every single shot is of this thing in laptop configuration. They are selling it as a laptop. It has a crappy rubber keyboard. That's how I know.

            [i]First paragraph: And you know this how - except from other bloggers' opinions?[/i]

            Because, as a publicly-traded company, all of Microsoft's financials are available to the public. You can see where they make their money and it's not from devices and services. When Tim Cook said in Feb 2010 that Apple was a mobile-device company, when you looked at their balance sheet, it was actually ... you know ... true.
          • Surprisingly, you're partially right...

            Windows 8 is a great attempt and undoing the wrong that Apple has done. It's also the first increment of a really good idea. It's a great all-around OS.

            I don't want a multitude of devices! I want one single device. A tool that conforms to me, and helps me get stuff done!

            I agree that Microsoft should reinvent the desktop but it won't happen over night, nor will it happen by using gimmicky devices that would only serve to "wow" people. It starts from the physical desktop, and into the virtual desktop on the user's device (singular).

            Do you really want to sit there and wave your hands at the computer? It might be handy to use Kinect in the "ideal" desktop environment, but not in the way you are implying. The combination of all of these technologies is the ultimate, adaptable, productive interface.
      • you have no clue do you

        All amazing stuff coming from Microsoft, Windows 8, Surface, Windows Phone 8, Office 13, Office 365, etc. etc. They are back in the groove

        You are too much of a fanboi, nothing rational about you
        • It is amazing stuff

          But also very risky bets on paradigm change. I honestly hope they do well with this bet.
        • Nope

          Sorry, I haven't heard any rational person to find Microsoft products to be "amazing".

          After all, they are just tools and not even best ones for corporations or personal use.
          • ????

            Excel is still by far the best spreadsheet program out there for data analysis. That alone makes office worth it.
          • disagree

            Microsoft had a long stretch of boring software but they really seem to be back on their game. Anyone who says Google Docs (or Google anything, really) is the best product of a particular type is really just wearing google glasses.
        • Rational

          I won't judge whether he was a fanboi, but you surely sound like one: forcing subject opinions on others as arguments.
      • If he does that means you'll have less mattress for yourself

        Just saying...
        William Farrel
  • 50 Shades of White

    I have always upgraded to the latest version of Office, but I "live" in Outlook, and I don't think I can take the whitewash snow blindness of Outlook 2013... :-(

    Maybe they've changed it since the CTP, but I doubt it.
    • @YukioCowboy - the white Outlook 2013 grows on you

      After a while everything else feels very clunky
    • The preview version had option which was not working

      So the white theme is not locked down, but customizable to soothing color of choice
      Go ahead and book your copy!
      • I hope so

        Thanks ninjacut, I hope so. How do you know this?

        Are there just two or three themes to choose from, like in Office 2010, or do we get more complete control of the palette?