Microsoft Office 2013 on Monday
Microsoft will introduce Office 2013, the likely official label for the next version of the company’s money-making suite, on Monday, according to a report from USA Today.
CEO Steve Ballmer will host a news conference July 16, said the newspaper, when he will unveil what Microsoft has codenamed “Office 15.” Most analysts — and Microsoft itself, via a hint or two — expect the usual year designation in the nameplate.
Microsoft has been highly secretive about Office 2013, but has promised to release a beta sometime this summer. This is probably part of Ballmer’s announcement on Monday — the release of the public beta so that consumers can get a taste of the upcoming Office suite. This beta will undoubtedly work alongside the Windows 8 Release Preview so that end-users get the full Metro experience before both go retail.
But a different set of sources clam that the Office 2013 client, servers and newest version of Office 365 services probably won’t be generally available until May 2013. This is seemingly late in the year given that Office 13 is expected to go RTM by the end of 2012. Until then, new machines will reportedly ship with “significantly” upgraded Office Web Apps based on similar apps listed in Office 2013.
Office 2013 RT, the probable name for the Windows RT version, will have to reach customers long before that, however, if Windows RT debuts in late October alongside Windows 8.
Microsoft first placed a preview of Office 2013 in the hands of a small group of testers in January.
It’s unclear what versions of Windows will support Office 2013, although Window 8 is a lock and Windows 7 would appear to be. The 11-year-old Windows XP, however, might be excluded from the list since it’s scheduled to be retired from all support in April 2014, just over a year after the likely launch of the suite.
Office is a crucial component of Microsoft’s money-making. In the first quarter of 2012, for example, the Business Division, which includes Office, reported revenue of $5.81 billion, or 33% of the company’s total for the period. Microsoft’s Business Division recorded the largest percentage of total revenue of any unit, ahead of even the Windows and Windows Live Division, which generated $4.62 billion, or 26.5% of sales for the quarter.
Currently Microsoft isn’t verifying any information about Office 2013 public beta, the final release timing or distribution plans. The press conference taking place in San Francisco on Monday, which starts at 12pm PT and ends at 12:45pm, promises that attendees will get the latest news from Microsoft. Attendees will have a chance to speak with Microsoft experts and customers from 1:30pm to 5pm.
Analyst Charles King at research firm Pund-IT indicated to USA Today that not only is a lot riding on the success of Windows 8, but on Office 2013 as well. “If Office 15 is a bust, those repercussions will impact and potentially injure virtually every part of Microsoft,” he told the paper.
Sources: ComputerWorld, Tom’s Hardware, The TechBlock.