Office 2013 Is Here

It’s finally official. Microsoft is launching the new Office, aka Office 2013, today – January 29.

There have been lots of rumors that January 29 would be the day that the latest version of Office would be generally available via retail channels. But thanks to a tweet from the Office team, and a #Timeto365 campaign/hashtag — we now know Microsoft is “launching” the new Office product today in Bryant Park in New York City.

Microsoft released Office 2013 to manufacturing on October 11, 2012. The company made the final release available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, as well as volume-licensing customers, before the end of last year. Recently, Microsoft made $10 versions of the final Office 2013 available to volume licensees with Software Assurance as part of its Home Use Program.

Microsoft officials have been saying for a couple of months that Redmond planned to make the final release commercially available in the first calendar quarter of 2013.

The company has already taken the wraps off some of its Office 2013 SKUs. Microsoft will be pushing a new, subscription-based version of Office that it has named Office 365 Home Premium. This product name could lead to some consumer confusion because, unlike the other Office 365 SKUs, the Home Premium version isn’t a Microsoft-hosted version of Office. Instead, it’s a downloadable, locally installable versions of the Office 2013 product for which users will be charged a monthly or annual “rental” fee. For that subscription fee, users will have the right to install Office 2013 and/or the Office for Mac 2011 programs on up to five PCs and Macs in total. The “home premium” version is slated for consumers and small business users. See additional information here:

Office 365 Home Premium: In a nutshell, instead of paying for a boxed or downloaded copy of Office, you can “rent” it for $99.99 a year. Why on earth would you pay every year to use the software you can buy just once? For one thing, Office 365 Home Premium includes not just the four “core” programs offered in Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote), it adds Publisher and Access. The equivalent Office 2013 suite with Publisher and Access–Office Professional–will cost $399.99 if purchased outright. The Office 365 subscription also gives you 20GB of extra SkyDrive storage and 60 minutes of Skype calls, plus the license is good for five users across a mix of five PCs or Macs.

Microsoft officials have also said that the “real” Office 365 update should be available around the time of the client launch. Microsoft Office 365 account managers have been busily prepping reseller/integrator partners for the Office 365 refresh for the past couple of weeks.

 There’s still no official word on what version will follow up the Mac 2011 version currently available.

There are TONS of posts covering this release – just Google Office 365 Home Premium.

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