Microsoft has confirmed that its other operating system, Windows RT, will get a native version of its popular e-mail application called Outlook 2013 RT. Tami Reller, CFO and CMO of Microsoft's Windows Division, made the announcement at Computex and highlighted the fact that the update will come for free as part of Windows 8.1 update later this year.
Existing Windows RT users will also get it for free; this comes as a recent survey highlighted the fact that nearly two thirds of people shopping for tablets consider Microsoft Office to be the single most important software feature. The Morgan Stanley study doesn't say whether the research was carried out only on Windows RT tablet owners though.
The average price of Windows RT tablets has been tumbling down lately with the likes of the Dell XPS 10 available for as little as £249 which, in all fairness, is not a lot given that you get a very capable device with a full version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 which carries a suggested retail price of £110 on its own.
It includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note; adding Outlook will turn it into Office Home and Business 2013 which costs a whopping £220.
Outlook 2013 RT will be slightly different from the full-fat version available on Windows 8.For a start, developers won't be able to add custom features since Visual Basic for Applications is not yet available for Outlook 2013 RT, then there's the fact that it won't offer data loss prevention capabilities, support for Group Policy Objects, support for email creation using Information Rights Management and it won't integrate Microsoft Lync video conferencing and instant messaging.
Together with a rumoured Windows RT price cut, the arrival of Outlook 2013 on the platform, albeit in a cut-down version, will make Windows RT an attractive proposition for individuals as well as small businesses who lack the infrastructure and resources to take advantages of the enterprise features offered by Outlook 2013.