Microsoft announced that Office 2013 has hit the Release to Manufacturing milestone, which sets the company up for an upgrade smorgasbord. Will users look to upgrade their whole PC, their OS, or their Office applications in the coming months, or all three?
To The Stores...
From 26 October into November and beyond, the tech world is set for something of a buying spree of Windows 8 PCs, OS upgrades and, now, Office upgrades, as those in the Microsoft way can happily spend a fortune on new hardware and software.
For the first time in the company's history, Microsoft (and many, many partners) are launching PCs, tablets, smartphones, along with huge amounts of new software via the Windows Store and other portals. The alignment of new OS, Office suite and hardware across so many areas has never been seen before.
While Microsoft fans may lack the zealot-nature of their Apple equivalents, there are hundreds millions more of them and this chance to join in the upgrade festival may suck millions more in, with Windows business tablets a major part of the thrust.
With Office reaching RTM it will be available for the general user early in 2013, but enterprise and Volume Licensing users can start deploying it in November, those buying the old 2010 version will get a free voucher to upgrade to 2013.
Expect the usual slow take-up from enterprises, who will take their own sweet time over matters, to ensure code, feature and document compatibility. But with the likelihood of users choosing to upgrade to the whole Windows 8 touch experience, expect plenty of whole-system upgrading going on, as everyone wants to get the most from the new features in Windows 8 and Office 2013.
There will be those still asking if all these upgrades are necessary or welcome, and if Microsoft is still the force it used to be? We'll see as the financial reports and sales figures come in, but this is pretty much Microsoft's biggest and last shot at creating the excitement we saw with Windows 95 and Windows XP. Will there be much take up of the whole Windows phone/tablet/PC ecosystem, even with the enhanced security?
The PC market has long been in need of a hardware boost, with sales slipping in the recent market reports and Lenovo overtaking HP as the No. 1. All the major players have stacks of new tablets, Ultrabooks, notebooks and combo devices along with desktop all-in-ones to sell, and will welcome a huge rush to upgrade for Windows 8.
That all depends on just how much of the business/SMB and end-user base is happy running their tasks via cloud apps, and feel no need to upgrade the OS, and those who are happy with Windows 7 or earlier. Sure, Microsoft has got the cloud user covered with Office on Demand, but with so many options out there, the company can't guarantee user loyalty.