Rumor: ARM version of Office 2013 will be pared down


— 6:00 AM on August 8, 2012

Last month, Microsoft confirmed that an ARM-compatible version of Office 2013 Home and Student will be bundled with Windows RT devices, including Microsoft's own, ARM-powered Surface tablet. The company didn't get into specifics about the software, simply noting that Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote would all be included.

Now, unofficial details are starting to leak out, and it's sounding like folks won't get a straight ARM port of the upcoming software suite. Quoting "sources familiar with the company's plans," The Verge reports that Microsoft will actually pare down Office 2013 Home and Student RT, allegedly to maximize battery life on Windows RT tablets. "Macros, third-party add-ins, and VBA support" will all be missing, as will a "small number" of additional features.

The Verge goes on to say Windows RT tablets won't ship with the full version of Office 2013 Home and Student RT when they launch in October. Rather, they'll feature a "preview version" of the software. Users will have to upgrade to the complete release early next year.

That all sounds rather inconvenient. If true, it may force business users to forgo Windows RT tablets in favor of x86-powered Windows 8 offerings. Going the x86 route may mean paying more for a device, however. Microsoft expects the Intel-powered version of its Surface tablet to cost the same as an ultrabook, while the ARM model should be priced competitively with "comparable" ARM tablets.

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