While Apple is far and away the dominant company in the home computing and smartphone markets, they are by no means without competition. There are still millions of die-hard PC users who will swear to any that would listen that Microsoft and the Windows operating system are far superior. iPhone and iPad users have consistently scoffed at this, and there’s no question that Microsoft has been working to make their products more appealing to Apple’s on the fence consumers. Their new operating system, Windows 8, is about to be released, and it’s user and touchscreen-friendly redesign should win over some converts. But it may be the latest iteration of Microsoft Office, that hugely popular suite of work-related programs that has the best chance of turning the tide. And according to an announcement from Microsoft, Office 2013 is almost ready for the general public.
A blog was published on the official site for Microsoft Office on Thursday, penned by the company’s own Kirk Koenigsbauer announcing a major milestone for the pending program suite. Koenigsbauer refers to the 2013 upgrade as the most ambitious version of the software they’ve ever attempted, and now it is entering the RTM phase of its development. RTM stands for ‘released to manufacturing’, which basically means the engineering team that designed the software now feels that all the quality control tests they can possibly conduct have been completed, with Office 2013 passing with flying colors. Now they must manufacture copies that are ready for consumers to test drive, similar to when websites and apps go through a Beta testing period. With the RTM now a reality, Office 2013 hitting the shelves is that much closer to coming to fruition.
Koenigsbauer jubilantly announced how the engineering team behind Microsoft Office 2013 have signed off on this first, consumer-focused build. With testing and coding complete, Microsoft will now work to see the program effectively through its initial release. While Office 2013 won’t be available for wide retail release until the first quarter of next year, the public will be able to get their hands on it through a couple of different avenues. If you subscribe to Technet or MSDN you will be able to download a copy some time in November. Voluming Licensing customers will be able to do the same.
In addition, IT professionals who work for a select group of businesses will be able to order a copy for internal tests, as long as they share their results with the engineering team at Windows. And members of the general public can claim their own version immediately. Anyone who buys a copy of Office 2010 from here on out will receive a free upgrade to the 2013 version as soon as it hits the market. If you are on the fence about sticking with these PC programs or heading over to Apple, you’ll be able to explore a preview of Office 2013 on any Windows RT device, once Windows 8 launches online and in retail stores on the 26th of October. Not a bad add-on to your trip to the office supply store for some discount toner.