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Office 2013 Release and Advice

Office 2013 Release and Advice

UPDATE 12/17/2014 – While licensing and other concerns continue to exist on the Office 2013 front, it is becoming more difficult by the day to obtain valid licenses for Office 2010.  As we look to turn the page into 2015, it is unlikely that Office 2010 licenses will be available from anywhere but eBay.  If you have not already contacted us about purchasing Office 2010 licenses for most/all of your systems, now is a good time.  Moving into 2015 most systems will only have the option to purchase Office 2013 or its subscription-based spinoff Office 365.  Keep in mind that Office 2013 does not run on Vista computers so you must replace them with Windows 7 or 8 machines before moving to Office 2013.

UPDATE 2/17/2013 – Experts researching the Office 2013 licensing language have found troubling changes that suggest Microsoft is making it more difficult for anyone (including us as your IT provider) to reinstall Office 2013 after a computer gets a virus.  Additionally, Microsoft appears to have “inaccurately stated”.. or some may say outright lied.. about the ability to install Office 2013 on up to five systems.  This offer appears nowhere in the language of the actual Office 2013 software which incidates that consumers were provided false information from Microsoft in a bait-and-switch sales scheme.  More information can be found here.  In the meantime, our advice below stands.

ORIGINAL – On October 11, 2012, Microsoft announced it was releasing to manufacturing the newest version of Office:  Office 2013.  As software versions go, this is a fairly major upgrade for Office because it moves Office closer to “the cloud”.  Many of the new features of Office 2013 center around cloud storage and, specifically, Microsoft-provided extra services.

Microsoft has already made available Office 2013 on the Windows 8 RT tablets.  As a refresher, the Windows 8 RT platform is not full Windows but rather just the basic Metro-styled tablet OS.  This Windows 8 RT version is not the fully working Office 2013 that you can run on your desktop, but a lighter version for the lesser tablets to run.

Microsoft has also allowed consumers to download a trial “preview” of the full Office 2013 from their website.  If you are interested you can check it out here.

Our guidance at this time is as follows:

  • Office 2013 does add some new features to the old-school Office product set, but like Windows 8 it does so in a way that creates a learning curve for business users.  And the cloud-based features seem to be more geared toward selling Microsoft services than providing a better working environment for end-users.
  • We at ESG do not feel the new features warrant the trouble.  We do not recommend upgrading your existing systems to Office 2013 at this time.
  • We do recommend bringing all your systems up to Office 2010 if they are not already there.  Prices on Office 2010 are lower thanks to the upcoming release of 2013 which creates a good opportunity to make the upgrade.
  • If you are buying a new workstation and have a single user that wants to try out Office 2013, it is good to know that most documents created in 2013 are compatible with the older 2007 and 2010 Office versions.  Interoperability within your office should not be a problem so we do not have a concern with a system or two having Office 2013 loaded.
  • Office 2013 DOES NOT run on Windows XP or Vista systems.  You must have Windows 7 or 8, and ideally a 64-bit machine.  For more details you can read this information from Microsoft.  If you have Windows XP or Vista systems in your fleet please contact us to get a quote on bringing them up to Windows 7 since this restriction is likely something that other software vendors will begin to imitate.