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Microsoft demos alpha build of touch-friendly Metro Office apps

Brad Chacos | June 27, 2013
While Microsoft was busy showing off Windows 8.1 to a crowd of journalists at an invite-only event Tuesday, it snuck in an all-too-brief preview ...

The cavalry will arrive (someday)
The absence of modern-style Office apps is often cited as a glaring hole in Microsoft's Windows 8 strategy. Office and Windows go together like PB&J, and with Windows 8 jumping into a world of touchscreens and tablets, the lack of a finger-friendly Office suite sticks out like a sore thumb.

Soon, that hole will be filled. When, we don't exactly know for sure.

Earlier whispers about "Office Gemini"--the reported code name for the project to build modern Office apps--pegged the release date as sometime this fall, with Office 365 subscribers allegedly gaining access to the modern Office apps as part of their yearly fee.

Multiple reports also indicate that Microsoft is cutting manufacturers a steep break on licensing fees to include Office on touchscreen Windows devices under 10.6-inches in size.

The Acer Iconia W3--the first 8-inch Windows slate on the market--indeed includes Office Home & Student. It's easy to envision Microsoft bundling modern Office apps with small-screen tablets to try and drive up demand, though Microsoft refuses to confirm whether it's offering Office license discounts to manufacturers.

With PowerPoint and the other modern Office apps still in an alpha state, the thought of hitting release status in just a few months seems ...ambitious.

But no matter when modern Office apps come barreling down the pipeline, they will be very welcome indeed by people who have bought into the Windows touchy-feely tablet vision.

Better late than never, after all.



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