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Windows RT to include Office 2013 RT for ARM-based systems

Microsoft is busy spreading the gospel about its next-generation Windows 8 operating system at its TechEd Conference in Florida, offering a first look at Office on Windows RT, the Windows 8 variant for ARM-based systems.

Office for ARM will be called "Office 2013 RT," according to Ars Technica, which reported from TechEd that this version of Microsoft's productivity suite "includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and will ship as an integral part of Windows RT."

Microsoft is set to release Windows 8 later this year, with a lot of speculation suggesting a splashy launch party in October. Windows 8 is Microsoft's first OS designed for both PCs and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones - and also for the first time, it's got a version tailored specifically for chips based on the ARM architecture in addition to the versions for the x86 chips made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and a few others.

Here's what Excel looks like in Office 2013 RT, courtesy of a TechEd slide published by Ars Technica:

As Ars notes, Office 2013 (unlike Windows 8) hasn't been made available as a public preview yet, though it is being vetted by Microsoft partners in a private Technical Preview. The tech site reports that a public Release Preview of Office 2013 will arrive sometime this summer, however.

In April, leaked Microsoft product roadmap slides also suggested that beta versions of the next iterations of Office, SharePoint, Exchange, and Visio would arrive around the middle of this year with official releases due out in early 2013.

In those slides, the next version of Office is designated "Office 15," a reference to the version and not the release year. The current-generation Office 2010 is sometimes referred to as Office 14, for example.

What's curious is that all these signs point to Microsoft releasing Windows 8 and Windows RT several months in advance of releasing the next version of Office. It seems the software giant is planning a staggered release of its biggest new products over the next eight to ten months or so rather than dropping a multi-product bombshell on the market all at once like Microsoft rival Apple tends to do.

For more in-depth Microsoft analysis, check out ITProPortal's dedicated Office 365 microsite.