During its Computex keynote address, Microsoft Windows chief Tami Reller revealed that all tablets with a screen size less than 10-inches that run the full version of the company’s latest operating system will also come with Microsoft Office as standard. The company also confirmed that Outlook will be coming to Windows RT tablets as a free-of-charge download when the next update of its stripped-down operating system rolls out.
It’s debatable whether adding Outlook to Windows RT will be enough to save the operating system or the products that use it, but business users in particular who were early adaptors of the Microsoft Surface RT tablet have been very vocal about their disappointment that the enterprise-grade email client is currently unavailable.
However, as far as Windows 8 tablets are concerned, the addition of Office could prove to be the killer application that helps the fledgling devices steal market share. Until now, consumers that have bought a tablet have also had to pay for Word, Excel, Powerpoint and One Note, which, despite competition from Google’s growing suite of apps, are still the world’s most popular and simple to use productivity suite. It also means that affordable devices such as Acer’s Iconia W3, the world’s first 8-inch Windows 8 tablet, which was revealed earlier this week at Computex and already appears to be good value for money with an expected retail price of $$379 (€300), has just become even more appealing.
Microsoft also used its Computex keynote address to give one of the first public demonstrations of the updates coming to Windows 8.1, which will be released as a free download for existing Windows 8 users later this year. Notable changes include the welcome return of the ‘start button,’ better personalization and customization options and seamless synchronization across multiple devices and to the cloud.