Microsoft Office holds off on 'Metro style' till 2014

The 'Metro-Style' versions of Microsoft's core Office applications won't be out until 2014, Microsoft officials are confirming.

Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Build 2013. James Martin/CNET

Microsoft officials are showing off a quick sneak peek of one of the coming "Metro-Style" Office applications today, during the opening keynote of its Build 2013 developer conference.

During the June 26 keynote, Microsoft officials are showing an alpha version of the Windows Store version of PowerPoint as a way to demonstrate that developers can build powerful "Metro-Style"/Windows Store business applications. The Metro versions of PowerPoint, Word, Excel and OneNote are codenamed "Gemini," as I've blogged previously.

A Microsoft spokesperson told me this week that the new Gemini apps will be available in the Windows Store in 2014. The word is that delivering these Gemini apps next year has always been the Office team's "plan of record."

PowerPoint
PowerPoint makes a cameo at Microsoft Build 2013. James Martin/CNET

As I've blogged, that's not what my sources have told me. I had heard the goal was to deliver these Gemini applications around October 2013, which would be around the time that new PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 (codenamed "Blue") would be hitting the market.

A Metro-Style version of OneNote already exists and Microsoft has updated it twice since it debuted in the fall of 2012. (A Metro-Style version of Lync also exists and just got updated this week.)

Microsoft also is committed to delivering Metro-Style/Windows Store versions of its other Office apps, like Publisher and Visio. Officials said there's no public timetable or additional information they are ready to share about how and when that will happen.

Delivering the Gemini Office applications months after Windows 8.1 is released seems to me more like something the old Microsoft rather than the new, more nimble Microsoft, would do. If Microsoft officials are not simply underpromising and actually planning to "overdeliver" by getting these apps into the Windows Store in 2013, the Office team won't have these new apps ready in time for holiday 2013 -- which may or may not matter in the grand, selling scheme.

Desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote already exist and will continue to work on Windows 8.1 (both the Intel- and ARM-based variants).

This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "Microsoft: 'Metro-Style' Office not due until 2014."

About the author

    Mary Jo Foley has been a tech journalist for almost 30 years. She is editor of ZDNet's "All About Microsoft" blog. She authored "Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft Plans to Stay Relevant in the Post-Gates Era" and co-hosts the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT Network.

     

    Join the discussion

    Conversation powered by Livefyre

    Don't Miss
    Hot Products
    Trending on CNET

    HOT ON CNET

    Find Your Tech Type

    Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!