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Office and SharePoint 2013 Hit Manufacturing October 18th

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The development of SharePoint and Office 2013 is completed, and is going into manufacturing this month. These versions of Office and SharePoint have been designed to keep up with the changing trends in software, optimized for the cloud, social, and mobile technologies.

Many in the industry have said that the new Office-based apps are very similar to Office 2010, but that they have been optimized for use on touch displays. The interface should be fairly familiar to users, but many of the capabilities have been expanded upon.

Office and SharePoint 2013 are expected to reach the general public some time during the first quarter of 2013. However, users who buy Office 2010 after October 19th will be able to receive a free upgrade when the 2013 version hits stores.

If you have a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, you may be able to receive the new version sooner. You should be able to download the software before mid-November. This is also true for those who subscribe to MSDN or TechNet. Specific pricing information will become available on December 1st.

Devices with Windows RT will hit the market on October 26. These will come with a “preview” version of Office Home and Student 2013. Once they become available to the general public, these will also be upgradeable to the non-preview versions for free.

The hosted version, Office 365, which features a cloud-based version of SharePoint, Lync, and Exchange (among others), is also being updated. Since Office 365 receives periodic updates and doesn’t really have “versions,” the scheduling will be a bit different, but similar new capabilities will become available in mid-November. Businesses using Office 365 should be aware that they may see some downtime in mid-November as a result.

It will be interesting to see how well this new strategy plays out. Will businesses be able to capitalize on the new social and mobile features, which leverage ideas like “following,” forums, and streams? Time will tell. Regardless, making the most of SharePoint will always depend more on planning and cohesiveness than on the technology itself.

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