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Office 2013 Now Available to Volume Licensees

Microsoft Office 2013, plus various application servers with the "2013" branding, are now available to volume licensing customers, according to a report.

The news comes from veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley, based on her sources. Microsoft confirmed the account, indicating that volume licensees with Software Assurance can now download release-to-manufacturing product versions of Office 2013, Exchange 2013, Lync 2013 and SharePoint 2013 from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center. Pricing for the products comes later, on December 1.

Volume licensing availability arrives a little early. Microsoft indicated earlier this month with the RTM release that volume licensees would get the bits "by mid-November." Microsoft's TechNet and MSDN subscribers already have access, with RTM versions of 2013 products being available a week ago.

Those Office 365 subscribers getting hosted versions of Lync and SharePoint are just beginning to get the latest service updates from Microsoft, according to Foley's account. Microsoft had previously said that Office 365 subscribers would start to get the next service update in November. The service updates get delivered to customers extending into early 2013.

The 2013-branded products are expected to hit "general availability" in the first quarter of 2013, according to Microsoft. That's Microsoft terminology for when boxed copies of Office 2013 will be available, although Foley's sources are suggesting that it will happen early in that quarter -- namely, in January.

Microsoft currently has a promotional offer for those buying retail copies of Office 2010 that allows them to upgrade to Office 2013 at no extra charge. The offer is limited to 25 "redemptions per person or organization" and Microsoft sends an e-mail to those signing up indicating when the Office 2013 upgrade will be available. There's one catch in that the "offer cannot be redeemed after the redemption end date has passed," according to the offer's terms. That end date isn't yet been specified by Microsoft, as of this writing.

The version of Office that comes with the new Microsoft Surface RT machines, Office Home and Student RT, initially was shipped on machines as a preview version. However, but the free upgrade to the full Office Home and Student RT was already available on October 26 when the Surface RT machines appeared in Microsoft Stores.

Microsoft is also going to deliver the new Office version for Windows Phone 8 devices, including HTC, Nokia and Samsung models, when those devices become available. The new Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to be available starting in late November, near the Thanksgiving holiday. The phones will have an Office Mobile version that doesn't have all of the capabilities of Microsoft's Office 2013 flagship product.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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