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Windows RT won't get full Office 2013

Windows RT

By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 8 Aug 2012 at 08:46

Microsoft's Windows RT's tablet centric operating system will ship with a stripped down version of Office.

According to sources cited in a report on The Verge, the productivity suite for ARM-based version of Windows 8 will ship without macros and other functionality.

The software maker will include Office 2013 RT as part of the October launch of its Surface tablets, but the release version will only be a preview version, with the final product now not expected until early next year.

Citing company sources, The Verge said “macros, third-party add-ins, and VBA support will all be dropped from the Office 2013 RT edition”, with other features also likely to be removed.

The sources justified the decision by saying the move would ensure battery life and stability were not affected in Windows RT devices.

U-turn

The decision to cut down functions within Office for the RT devices' launch represents a sharp U-turn from the company after CEO Steve Ballmer had claimed the OS would be packaged with a full version.

“You'll see… Surface devices with ARM chips in them, with full Word, full PowerPoint, full Excel,” he said at a press conference last month.

“You give up nothing of the rich capabilities of Microsoft Office when you embrace the Windows 8 ARM device. That wasn't the junior version. That was full Office available to you with full capabilities on this next generation of device.”

Microsoft has yet to reveal exactly what will be packaged in the launch version and we are waiting for confirmation of the cut-down preview.

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User comments

Storm in a teacup

Removing macros, 3rd party add-ins and VBA wouldn’t hurt my productivity one bit on Windows RT. I only rarely use macros and VBA and for when I want to I can still use the desktop version of Office 2013 when it comes out.

I really don’t see what the big deal is about. How will the removal of features that are not used very much make that much of a difference? Yes they are not full Word, full Excel, full PowerPoint but it is about 95% of the way there.

You are making it sound much worse than it really is.

By Jimbo762 on 8 Aug 2012

Storm in a teacup

Removing macros, 3rd party add-ins and VBA wouldn’t hurt my productivity one bit on Windows RT. I only rarely use macros and VBA and for when I want to I can still use the desktop version of Office 2013 when it comes out.

I really don’t see what the big deal is about. How will the removal of features that are not used very much make that much of a difference? Yes they are not full Word, full Excel, full PowerPoint but it is about 95% (or more) of the way there.

You are making it sound much worse than it really is.

By Jimbo762 on 8 Aug 2012

Got to agree with Jimbo

If businesses need VBA on WinRT devices, they should be thinking about developing an app.

It's a pity for average users, who just want to save a bit of time, though.

That said, it would be a nice virus-friendly platform if VBA was fully functional. Apple would LOVE that.

By John_Greythorne on 8 Aug 2012

Assembler

It was one of the reasons MS dropped macro support in Office for Mac 2011, they moved from the Rosetta based version to a pure Intel based version of Office for OS X and had to drop Macros, because a lot of the code was written directly in PowerPC assembler. If the same is true for the Windows version, it would take a lot of extra work and testing to convert the x86 CISC Assembler into ARM RISC Assembler and get it stable.

That said, for the average user, out and about, the lack of macros probably isn't a big problem. If it is, then you can switch from the diet version to the full fat version on an Intel tablet...

By big_D on 8 Aug 2012

Alternatives through Office Apps

Office RT does support the new Office Apps framework however allowing for agaves and the rest, so this will partially mitigate lack of VBA etc.

Office RT is targeted at home users, 99% of whom don't write VBA or make macros - this is really a power user feature.

By TheBigM72 on 8 Aug 2012

Yep, use 'Apps'

Mary Jo Foley has a short piece about this..

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-office-2013-bye-bye
-add-ins-hello-apps-7000002274/

By wittgenfrog on 8 Aug 2012

What is the problem

Only the final price point will define Surface as a product for home users and even business users are probably not going to be that affected by the dropping of some features.

The main point is the categorical statement by SB that this would not happen, that the RT Office would be full feature and yet again MS have got it wrong. It makes you wonder what else will "dissapear" from the production version? Keyboard, flip stand, pen, vapourmag case? Going back on one major item exposes a lot of others to suspicion.

By MIssingLink on 12 Aug 2012

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