Microsoft has put the finishing touches on Office 2013, paving the way for the latest version of Redmond’s flagship productivity suite to reach general availability in the first quarter of 2013.
An early preview of Office 2013 has been available for download since July, but that trial version lacked some features, including promised touch-friendly apps for Windows 8. With the announcement of the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build, Redmond has signaled that the suite is now feature-complete and ready to ship through various distribution channels.
Of course, some of those customers will take delivery sooner than others. As is generally the case, subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) or Redmond’s TechNet program for IT professionals will get first crack at the final Office code, which should hit Microsoft’s download servers sometime in mid-November.
Current Volume Licensing customers who are enrolled in Microsoft’s Software Assurance program should get access at around the same time, while new Volume Licensing customers will be able to sign up beginning on December 1.
Retail customers may be left waiting until as late as March – the exact ship date for the boxed version of Office 2013 is as yet unspecified.
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