Although it has yet to reveal a release date, Microsoft has begun to announce prices for its Office 2013 packages, as well as the subscription rates for the cloud-enabled Office 365 service.
There are three versions of the conventional suite of Office software. So far Microsoft has detailed its US prices, so what we've put as pounds in brackets is a currency conversion for rough guidance rather than official UK prices.
A single PC or Mac licence ranges from $139.99 (£86) for the Home & Student edition to $219.99 (£135) for Home & Office and $399.99 (£246) for the Professional version.
The Microsoft Office News blog provides a link to a Word doc that contains all of the many other price variations in table form. There are no longer any multi-user discounts being offered, except for the Office 365 service mentioned below.
There are two versions of Office 365: Home Premium and Small Business Premium. These are available on a subscription basis, with the former priced at $99.99 (£60) per year and the latter at $149.99 (£90) per user per year.
Both versions permit installation of Office 365 on up to five computers (PC or Mac), and the service also provides 20GB of free cloud storage via SkyDrive plus 60 minutes of Skype usage per month. Regular software updates are included too.
A Microsoft UK spokesperson told TrustedReviews, “Unfortunately there is currently no information available on what the UK pricings will be at this time.”
For larger families or small businesses, the subscription pricing is starting to look more attractive than buying enough user licences for a normal software installation. However, it also competes with the likes of Google Drive, which is free, though business users in particular would probably welcome the reassurance that their files will all be compatible with other Microsoft Office users.
The Microsoft news update adds that users purchasing any of the current versions (Office 2010 or Office for Mac 2011) on or after 19 October would be "eligible for a free upgrade to the new Office at the time of availability.” This suggests that the launch of Office 2013 will follow quite soon after the arrival of Windows 8. There will also be free trial periods of Office 365 for new buyers of the current Office packages.