On Thursday, Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer took to the Office Blog to announce a key milestone in the development of Office 2013, which he dubbed the “most ambitious” yet. The next iteration of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite has been released to manufacturing (RTM), he revealed in his blog post.
“Moments ago, the Office engineering team signed off on the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) build,” wrote Koenigsbauer, a corporate vice president at Microsoft’s Office Division. “This milestone means the coding and testing phase of the project is complete and we are now focused on releasing the new Office via multiple distribution channels to our consumer and business customers.”
While general availability is scheduled for the first quarter of 2013, the final version of the touch-friendly productivity suite will soon begin trickling out through other distribution channels. MSDN and Technet subscribers will be able to access it as early as the middle of next month, as will Voluming Licensing customers.
“Starting October 19, customers purchasing Office 2010 from local retailers or resellers will receive the new Office for free upon availability,” Koenigsbauer further wrote. “Customers will also see a preview version of the new Office on Windows RT devices, beginning with the Windows 8 launch on October 26.”
In the meanwhile, you can put the preview version of Office 2013 through its paces.