Microsoft says Outlook is coming to Windows RT this year

Microsoft says Outlook is coming to Windows RT this year

Summary: In an announcement at the Computex trade show, Microsoft executive Tami Reller announced that the upcoming Windows 8.1 update will include a welcome addition for Windows RT: Microsoft Outlook 2013.

SHARE:

When Microsoft released Windows RT last year, its claim to fame was that the operating system included Microsoft Office.

Well. sort of. In the feature tables for Windows RT, the line describing Office inevitably included an asterisk. Microsoft recompiled four programs from the desktop version of Office 2013 to run on Windows RT: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. But a key member of the family, arguably the most important one for prospective business buyers, was missing: Microsoft Outlook.

office-2013-rt-logo

That omission gets fixed this fall, with the release of Windows 8.1. At Computex 2013, Tami Reller, CFO and CMO of Microsoft’s Windows Division, announced that Outlook 2013 RT will be available on Windows RT devices, as part of the Windows 8.1 update later this year. A preview version of Windows 8.1 will be available at the end of June for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices. A Microsoftspokesperson confirmed that Outlook for Windows RT will indeed be included with the preview.

Owners of existing RT devices will receive the updates for free.

Despite weak sales of its own ARM-powered Surface and even more tepid support from hardware partners, Microsoft doesn't appear to be backing away from Windows RT. The addition of Outlook will undoubtedly convince some previously recalcitrant business buyers that Windows RT tablets make sense, as will the announcement at the Tech-Ed conference this week of management tools that allow greater control over Windows RT devices. And Microsoft also announced support for additional types of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) on Windows RT.

But there are still dealbreakers that stand in the way of widespread deployments of Windows RT. Office 2013 RT has many of the same features as its x86/x64 counterpart, but it lacks the ability to handle custom macro code. In addition, some features are missing from the RT programs, including the ability to embed audio and video in OneNote notebooks.

And Office is the only desktop app that Microsoft has officially ported to Windows RT. Third-party developers don’t have that option, which means any business that requires a third-party desktop app or a browser plugin other than Adobe Flash is out of luck. Likewise, Windows RT still doesn't support some widely used third-party VPN clients.

There’s also the pesky issue of licensing. The version of Office included with Windows RT is Office Home and Student 2013, which is licensed for noncommercial use only. If you want to stay in the good graces of Microsoft’s licensing agreement, you need to add commercial use rights, through a volume license or by way of a subscription to a business edition of Office 365.

Today’s announcement is also noticeably silent on the question of when Microsoft plans to release native tablet versions of its Office programs, for both Windows 8.1/RT as well as alternative platforms like the iPad and Android tablets. The fact that the desktop version of Outlook is a key part of this fall’s update suggests that Office for tablets won’t appear until 2014, and one recent rumor says late 2014 is the likely target date for those apps.

See also:

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Software

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

Talkback

9 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 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.
    ldo17
    • http://www.kroombats.com/

      for any queries kindly call us on 1855 658 5929
      Jason Smith 1234
  • Microsoft says Outlook is coming to Windows RT this year

    This is going to be great for all the Microsoft Windows RT users out there. Guess that platform isn't a fail if apps are still being developed for it.
    Loverock-Davidson
    • I'm sure

      Microsoft puts some top notch interns on the project ....
      roteague
  • The lack of Outlook has been...

    ...the only thing holding me back from trying out the RT. I have the Pro. However, my guess is new hardware will be announced later this year, so I'll either wait to pick-up v1 at a discount or wait for v2. Either way, this is good news.
    jmagzdnet
  • Outlook Completes the Package

    Have had a Surface RT since they came out and am extremely satisfied. Type keyboard is awesome. Travel on business frequently and it is geared for business. I had an iPad since the original and never could find a decent spreadsheet app. Tried Numbers, Quick Office, etc., all fell short. Now I can run Pivot Tables, Generate full fledged Powerpoints with complex graphs, take notes that sync via Skydrive, etc. I look around me on the plane at the other business travelers with their iPads and they are either reading a book or playing a game. Then they break out their laptop to get some work done. Last week I ran presentations for 4 hours (with a USB Presenter), took notes, updated some spreadsheets and still had plenty of battery when I got home. Between my Surface and my WindowsPhone 8 (Lumia 928) I have all the apps I truly used on my iDevices (USA Today, Cardscan, Expensify, Delta, etc.) AND can get work done. The People integration with Facebook and Linked-In works great as well.
    The only thing missing for me was Outlook and now it is coming. Gave my iPad and iPhone to my sons for music and videos.
    mrbillster
  • For those unfamiliar with the product

    Outlook is a malware installation engine with some vestigial email client features.
    symbolset
  • Main mistake

    Is licensing only for home use. That is plain stupid How much more Office licenses did MS sell because of RT upgrades to bussines license? My guess is very few, but at the same time they created a lot of stir and anger.
    I guess, that MS would sell a lot more devices if only they would be quiet about home use only and would allow tablets to be officially used with included office for bussines use, albeit limited in functionality because of lack of Outlook.
    Andrej.G.
  • Love my RT

    Everyone is jealous of my RT at work. The way it looks, the type cover (no bulky case with a heavy bluetooth keyboard and a case that has to clip both the tablet and keyboard together), OneNote and full versions of Word and Excel and Powerpoint, two apps at once (can't wait for 8.1), flash support and a full version of a browser, etc...

    Yes app coverage is still a little light and some apps are still figuring out the Metro interface. Didn't the iPhone/iPad and android apps have a similar learning curves when they first came out???

    The RT has been a great first tablet for me and a perfect companion device for my laptop and desktop.
    pfinter