Despite the fact that Microsoft reached RTM status with its Office suite of products in October, it’s been playing hard to get when it comes to actually getting the software into the hands of consumers. Up to this point, TechNet and MSDN subscribers have been the sole beneficiaries of the software, though today Microsoft has opened the doors up to business customers that purchase their software through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing. Regular end-user? You’ll have to wait until Q1.
In addition to Office 2013, Microsoft is making a couple of other related products available to business customers as well: Exchange Server 2013, Lync Server 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, Project 2013 and Visio 2013.
As boring as a new Office release may seem, 2013 is actually pretty interesting in a couple of different ways. First and foremost, it’s been designed to work well with touch interfaces and with a stylus in addition to a mouse and keyboard. It’s also seen an aesthetic overhaul that promotes an efficient workflow – and in my experience so far, I do believe Microsoft hit the nail on the head in that regard.
This is also the first Office release where Microsoft really isn’t doing too much to promote boxed copies of the software. While those options are still available, their perks pale in comparison to the Office 365 subscription that the company will be offering, as we previously discussed.
End users who purchase Office prior to the 2013 launch will receive a free upgrade to that version, although pricing does favor the 2013 versions of Home and Business and Professional. Home and Student looks to see a $10 increase. If you are planning to take the plunge soon, I highly recommend you look at the current pricing and investigate all of what’s new with 2013 with this helpful Wikipedia page.