Microsoft Surface Pro Release Slated For This Month, But Without Office 2013 [REPORT]

 @LisaEadicicco
on January 14 2013 12:52 PM

While the Surface Pro may be a viable solution for Windows fans looking to work on-the-go, the Redmond, Wash.-based PC software maker has allegedly said the device will not launch with Microsoft Office out of the box.

In response to a query from technology news blog and forum Neowin, Microsoft said that it does not plan to roll out the Surface Pro preloaded with Office 2013. The software will be sold as a separate product for Surface Pro owners, and according to Microsoft’s statement to the website “…customers will be able to choose the Office that best suits their needs.”

Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro tablet has been flaunted as a fully functional hybrid device—it boasts the processing power and full Windows 8 operating system of a PC, but can easily transform into a tablet without its Type cover keyboard. The other flavor of Microsoft’s self-branded tablet, Surface for Windows RT, comes with a stripped down version of the application suite known as Office 2013 RT. Since the upcoming Surface Pro comes packed with more power and PC functionality, it’s a strange move by Microsoft to exclude its signature Office set from the tablet’s native software.

Unlike the Pro, which comes with Windows 8 Professional right out of the box, Surface for Windows RT runs on ARM-based processors. This means that it can’t handle the hefty traditional PC applications compatible with Windows 8 and its predecessors, which is why Microsoft has created the custom Windows RT operating system based on its latest full software launch.

Microsoft will reportedly offer a bundle option that will include Office 2013 with the Surface Pro when it releases, although this has not been confirmed. The company has also held off on officially announcing a release date for its Surface Pro, but the tablet is expected to hit store shelves at the end of the month. At the end of November Microsoft revealed that the Surface Pro would hit stores in January starting at $899.99, but little else has been unveiled.

The Surface marks Microsoft’s first step into the tablet industry, and so far it’s been a shaky one at that. Sales of the Surface for Windows RT fell below Microsoft’s original projections, and an analyst predicted that the company would not push out more than 600,000 units before the end of 2012. The final sales numbers for last year indicate that Microsoft surpassed this number by selling one million units of its Surface, but we’ll be interested to see how the Surface Pro fares after its forthcoming launch.

As for Office 2013, the new software is currently available for business customers and will launch commercially in the first quarter of this year. The application suite will come complete with a refreshed design that offers less clutter, and according to PCWorld’s review. Apps such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint will bring users to a landing page with various templates rather than a blank document, and transitions are said to be more fluid.  The Home and Student version of Office 2013 will reportedly cost $140, while the Home and Business version sells for $220.

To learn more about how the Surface for Windows RT stacks up against the upcoming Surface Pro, check out our side-by-side comparison here.

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