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'Small' Windows 8 tablets will ship with a free version of Office 2013

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Microsoft has revealed that future 7- and 8-inch Windows 8 tablets will ship with a free copy of Office 2013. Speaking at Computex on Wednesday, Windows CFO Tami Reller revealed plans for Office Home and Student 2013 to be bundled with "small" Windows 8 tablets. It's up to OEMs to bundle the software, which includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Outlook 2013 will not be part of the free offering for smaller Windows 8 tablets, but Microsoft revealed on Wednesday that Windows RT 8.1 (that runs on ARM-based tablets) will include access to Outlook RT.

The plans follow rumors that Microsoft is cutting licensing costs for Windows and Office on small form factors to help drive interest from PC makers. So far, Acer is the only manufacturer that has opted to announce a small Windows tablet. The company unveiled its 8-inch Iconia W3 at Computex this week, noting that it ships with Office Home and Student 2013. Other manufacturers appear to be holding any 7- and 8-inch Windows tablet announcements, most likely because Microsoft is preparing a Windows 8.1 update that is designed to improve the usability of Windows on small form factors.