Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Office 2013 today. The company's final build of Office 2013 will be available to MSDN and TechNet customers in mid-November, with a release to Volume Licensing customers at the same time. General availability for consumers is "planned for the first quarter of 2013" according to a company spokesperson.
Office 2013 includes a number of improvements to make it cloud friendly and support for touch-based Windows 8 tablets. In our overview of a preview version of Office 2013 earlier this year, we found that the subtle UI changes and streaming Office support were great additions — alongside a much improved Outlook app.
A February consumer launch looks likely
The announcement follows accidental news from Microsoft's Czech Republic team earlier this week that the company would release Office 2013 to businesses in December, with a consumer launch scheduled for February 2013. A Microsoft spokesperson also inadvertently revealed that the company is planning some type of Office support for Android and iOS from March onwards. Microsoft later claimed that the information was "not accurate," but the company refused to discuss any possible plans for dedicated Office apps for iOS and Android.
Microsoft will now ship a copy of Office 2013 RT with its Windows RT tablets later this month, and Microsoft's Kirk Koenigsbauer believes "this is the most ambitious release of Office we've ever done." While there's no official date for an Office 2013 launch for consumers, Microsoft's accidental hints at a February unveiling look increasingly likely.