Office 2013 goes gold, available to users in November

Like a musician at the top of his game, Office 2013 has officially gone gold.

Office VP Kirk Koenigsbauer announced the software's official "Release to manufacturing" status on the Office News blog late yesterday afternoon, then topped things off with some release date information.

Business customers get the first dibs at the RTM software. Companies will be able to download Office 2013 as well as SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, and Exchange 2013 through Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center in mid-November. TechNet and MSDN subscribers should be able to download the software when that happens, while Office 365 Enterprise is slated to receive an update in the same time frame.

Everyday users need to be a bit more patient, however.

Office 2013 won't be available to the general public until sometime in the first quarter of next year, though Windows RT tablets will ship with a Preview version of the software as soon as the hardware hits the market. Microsoft didn't disclose an exact launch date, but a few days back, a Microsoft product manager and PR team in the Czech Republic let slip that the company's aiming for a February "General Availability" (GA) release. Of course, the same source claimed enterprise customers wouldn't see Office 2013 until December of this year, but Microsoft could have bumped that up a bit after the embarrassing gaffe.

The Czech Microsoft representatives said we should also see native Android and iOS Office apps next March.