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Microsoft Office 2013 reaches RTM

Microsoft has reached another Windows 8-related milestone. The company's updated productivity suite, Office 2013, has now been released to manufacturers.

"This milestone means the coding and testing phase of the project is complete and we are now focused on releasing the new Office via multiple distribution channels to our consumer and business customers," Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Office division, wrote in a blog post.

General availability is set for the first quarter of 2013, but those who purchase Office 2010 from local retailers starting 19 October will get the Office 2013 upgrade for free once it's released. A preview version of the Office 2013 software, meanwhile, will be available on the Windows RT devices making their debut with Windows 8 on 26 October. For more on that, see Hands On: Microsoft Office 2013 on Samsung's Windows RT Tablet.

Certain business customers will get early access so they can start testing it out within their organisations, Koenigsbauer said.

Office 365 Enterprise customers will gain early access to Office 2013 with Microsoft's next service update, which is expected in November. Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance, meanwhile, will be able to download Office 2013 apps and other Office products like SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, and Exchange 2013 via the Volume Licensing Service Center by mid-November. They will be added to the Volume Licensing price list on 1 December. IT professionals and developers will gain access on TechNet or MSDN subscriptions by mid-November.

A pre-release version of Office 2013 is currently available on Microsoft's website.