Microsoft hopes to transition consumers to a service-based model (Photo : Microsoft)
Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Office Division Kris Koenigsbauer announced on his blog that Microsoft Office 2013 has been released to manufacturers, indicating that "the coding and testing phase of the project is complete and [the Redmond-based company is] now focused on releasing the new Office via multiple distribution channels]."
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Koenigsbaur didn't specify the exact general availability date of the Office 2013 suite, but did reveal that an official launch will fall during the first quarter of 2013. The first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year falls between October 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.
Consumers who buy Office 2010 starting on October 19 will be granted Office 2013 when the suite launches. On October 26, a preview version of the new Office will be available on Windows RT devices.
For Office 365 Enterprise customers, the new Office will be released in November.
Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance will be given access to Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, and SharePoint 2013 by mid-November. Koenisbaur clarifies that "these products will be available on the Volume Licensing price list on December 1."
In mid-November, developers and IT professionals with MSDN and TechNet subscriptions can download the final version of Office 2013.
Under the new subscription model, Office 365 Home Premium will cost $99.99/year, and Office 365 Small Business Premium will cost $149.99/year. If Office users opt for the traditional licensed offering, Office Home & Student 2013 will be priced at $139.99, Office Home & Business 2013 at $219.99, and Office Professional 2013 at $399.99. Office Small Business Premium offers its suite for $12.50/month and can be used by up to 25 employees.