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Microsoft to Windows RT 8.1 preview users: Come and get Outlook 2013 for Windows RT

Microsoft is advising those still running Windows RT 8.1 preview to come and get the final version of Outlook 2013 RT before the Windows RT 8.1 preview expires in January 2014.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

I didn't realize that the version of Outlook 2013 RT that came bundled with the RTM version of Windows 8.1 RT was still officially a preview release. 

Update: Actually, this seems NOT to be the case. I've asked Microsoft if yesterday's blog post is just a reposting of a past entry. It looks as if Outlook 2013 RT already had RTM'd as I thought originally. Stay tuned for Microsoft's official response. 

Update 2: Microsoft's answer is the blog post contains some confusing and incorrect information. The final version of Outlook 2013 RT was part of the final version of Windows RT 8.1. Updates to the final bits will come via Windows Update and not the Windows Store.

Microsoft officials re-announced they've made the RTM version of Microsoft's Outlook mail client ported to Windows RT available in the Windows Store for download for free on October 31. (Note: Microsoft's wording of this post made it appear to me and others that those running Windows 8.1 RT RTM bits didn't yet have the final version of Outlook 2013 RT. However, this seems to just be a case of confusing wording. Sorry for the confusion, readers.)

Microsoft is advising users still running the Windows RT 8.1 preview bits to get the final version of Windows RT 8.1 before the preview expires in January 2014. Outlook 2013 RT is bundled as part of the Windows RT 8.1 operating system. To get the final Outlook 2013 RT bits, preview users need to install the RTM of Windows RT 8.1, which is available via the Windows Store.

Microsoft's October 31 blog post also reiterated past guidance to users regarding Outlook 2013 RT.

Outlook 2013 RT can connect to Exchange Server 2007, 2010 or 2013 as long as the Autodiscover service is configured, officials said.

In a post on the Office IT Pro blog, Microsoft officials noted there are some Exchange features not available in Outlook 2013 RT "because tablets have special needs for security and mobility." These include:

  • Online Archive or Personal Archive mailboxes
  • Applying Messaging Records Management (MRM) retention policies
  • Site Mailboxes
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) policy tips

Outlook 2013 RT also doesn't run macros, add-ins and/or custom programs developed by third parties. (The same is true of the rest of the Microsoft Office 2013 RT suite.) Outlook 2013 RT also doesn't allow users to set information-rights management on new e-mail messages, nor does it allow integration with Lync. outlook 2013 RT also cannot be configured using Group Policy.

The Office IT Pro post lists more limitations of the Outlook 2013 RT client.

Those interested in using Office 2013 RT for business purposes (and not just personal ones) should make sure their businesses have purchased commercial use rights or have a commercial license to Office 2013 suites that include Outlook, Microsoft officials said.

I blogged yesterday that I've heard talk that Microsoft ultimately may be planning to replace the Windows Mail and Calendar apps that are bundled with Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 RT. One of my tipsters claims that the idea is to make Outlook the sole mail client on Windows 8.X and its successors, going forward. I have no idea when this might happen.

Currently, Outlook RT is a desktop app. I wonder when/whether Microsoft plans to turn it into a Metro-Style/Windows Store one. No word on that so far....

Update 3: Microsoft has completely pulled the original blog post on which this post was based.

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