Feeds

Office for ARM will lack features, report claims

Macros, developer tools yanked

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Sources close to Microsoft claim that the version of Office 2013 that ships for Redmond's Surface tablet and other ARM systems will be missing features from the build for rival Intel-based Windows machines.

Among the items to be pruned from the version of Office for ARM-based Windows RT will be macros, third-party add-ons, and support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), The Verge reports.

The features are allegedly being removed to conserve battery life and improve reliability on devices with limited processing power.

If true, it would be something of an about-face for the software giant. At a press event announcing the Office 2013 Preview in July, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer said that Redmond was committed to providing the full Office experience on Surface and other devices running Windows RT.

"You'll see this as we and our partners ship PCs and Surface devices with ARM chips in them," Ballmer said. "Full Word. Full PowerPoint. Full Excel. You give up nothing of the rich capabilities of Microsoft Office when you embrace a Windows 8 ARM device."

Microsoft only shared a glimpse of Office running on an ARM device at the launch event, though, and the preview version of the suite did not include the promised don't-call-it-Metro-style versions of the applications.

If the reports are true, "the rich capabilities of Microsoft Office" on ARM will not include any of the tools that businesses use to develop custom forms, templates, and applications based on the productivity suite.

It wouldn't be the first time Redmond has disappointed users this way. When Microsoft discontinued VBA support for the Mac OS X version of Office 2008, it ultimately was forced to extend the support period for Mac Office 2004 until 2012 to appease Mac fans who relied on the scripting tool.

Microsoft has previously said that ARM-based Windows 8 devices, including Surface, will ship with Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which will contain "new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications."

But here Redmond is certainly saying less than it knows, and perhaps more than it seems to be. For starters, there is nothing in this statement to indicate that these new versions of the Office applications will be identical to the ones that ship for Intel-based Windows.

Furthermore, even if Microsoft does make available a full version of Office for ARM, as Ballmer has promised, there is no reason to assume that this is the version that will ship with Surface in October. If that version is indeed a preview release, as reports suggest, then it may well be hobbled in some ways, and the full version might be a for-pay product to come later.

When asked for clarification, Microsoft's Office team told El Reg, somewhat cryptically, "We have not finalized packaging for the next release of Office." ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.