The Office team today announced Office 2013 has been released to manufacturing, signaling that development and testing of the next iteration of Microsoft's productivity suite is complete.
In mid-November, the company will make the software available to Office 365 Enterprise customers, Software Assurance licensees, and TechNet and MSDN Subscribers.
General retail availability will come later, at some point in the first quarter of 2013. Anyone buying a retail copy of Office 2010 on or after October 19 will be eligible for a free upgrade once the software is generally available. In addition to conventional retail copies, Office 2013 is the first version of Office that offers subscription pricing that's aimed at home users.
Windows RT users could get their hands on the software a little sooner. Windows RT will ship on October 26 with preview versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Starting in November, updates to the final RTM version will become available for users of that platform.
When we looked at the public beta of Office 2013, we liked much of what we saw. There was neat cloud integration, a clean, elegant user interface, a new extensibility model, and widespread minor refinements to the suite. While we were less than impressed with the new touch support, overall Office 2013 feels like a solid upgrade.