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174

Microsoft delays Office for iPad, but speeds up Office for Windows RT

Many Apple users have been asking Microsoft when Office for iPad will be released, and to their dismay, the project is being delayed. While this may be a disappointing notice for iOS lovers, Microsoft fans should be excited, because the delay is a result of the company wanting to focus on Office “Gemini” – a touch optimized Windows 8 set of Office applications.

According to Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet, Microsoft had never intended to port their suite of Windows Office applications away from the standard Win32 operating system. Creating a suite of Office applications to run on ARM based platforms for Windows RT along with regular Windows 8, requires the company to essentially start from scratch.

The office team is working hard to create a version of their software for a touch centric Windows future and need to design a way for the apps to work not only on touch devices, but with a mouse and keyboard. According to Foley, “The Office team is having to redo the UI to include an updated ribbon model”.

Foley states that the new “Gemini” apps (internally known as “WinRT” apps), won’t be replacing the entire desktop suite, but do intend to be the focal point going forward. Office desktop applications will remain around “for the foreseeable future and those who want all the Office bells and whistles”.

OneNote MX

As of now, the only Office application that has been ported to a Windows 8 optimized experience is OneNote (known as OneNote MX). It appears that just as OneNote MX is a slightly less powerful, but much more touch friendly version, of its desktop brother – the entire Office “Gemini” suite will be also.

The applications are expected to debut by summer of 2014 and will be a large puzzle piece for closing the need of a legacy desktop on Windows RT.

Food for thought – Microsoft is trying hard to make sure Windows RT users stay in the modern UI interface; do you think Windows 9 could be the complete removal of the legacy desktop for ARM platforms? Voice off below!

Source: ZDNet

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Reader comments

Microsoft delays Office for iPad, but speeds up Office for Windows RT

174 Comments

Would be good news if the Touch Office had all the features of the Normal Office. Not really interested in watered down version of Office being showed down peoples throats. The majority of people still want and use normal Desktop Office.

The only good news is that Microsoft is finally getting its priorities straight focusing on supporting its own products before iOS and Android. I hope this continues with WP as well.

 

There's only so much you can fit onto the touch interface, there's no way they can get feature parity with full Office.  As long as they keep both versions though - to give people a choice - it should be fine.

All their devices are hybrids. They have keyboards and trackpad/mice. You could create a touch interface for the most used features and include a menu to be used with a mouse for more advanced features. If you are using advanced features, you are most likely using a mouse anyways. You still need a mouse for the precise control required for many productivity apps.

Yeah agreed; this is basically what the Ribbon does. Get a horizontally-scrolling very touch-friendly Ribbon for most operations, a way to customise that, and a long way round to access all the other functions.

Here's a solution once "Gemini" hits give Apple fans the non touch for 2 years and then give them the outdated touch version. By then W8/RT will have a solid foot hold and it wouldn't matter anymore lol...

If the desktop only exists as a "holding spot" for full-blown Office versions, with their touch counterparts available via Metro, I couldn't care less if the desktop is there.

They just need to move the file manager and the rest of the settings to the metro interface and the desktop will become pointless.

That's where I see Windows dying. Complete Metro with no desktop.
Seriously... no desktop may be good for tablets, not for PCs. And for occasional users, not for professionals.

I don't think Microsoft will abandon their desktop...
nor does such a split in the OS spell disaster Marcomura (see IOS...) They have been making it clear from the introduction of Win8 that a touch/tile interface for mobile tablet devices is where it is going. We are in that transition period remember. The continuing push to unify RT and WP is evidence of this goal for mictosoft. Desktop environments will still exist for those that need them fear not.

I doubt MS will simply remove the desktop for non rt version of windows, as if they did they would completely abandon the millions of applications in existence today. In all honesty I would rather have the full blown office in RT via the desktop, I don't see myself writing up long documents on a touch screen.. lol (just imaging it has given me a neck ache). Also I prefer troubleshooting via the control panel and winkey + x, instead of constantly using the search box.

That depends how fast developers will port those apps to metro. If they do it slow, the desktop will be around for a long time. I see the major companies porting their apps to metro and some apps will never be ported. THe desktop will be around to support those abandoned apps, but it will be buried where only advanced users will know how to get to it, just like the dos.

It might one day be that the desktop mode becomes a compatibility layer, once enough people are using the touch interface.

"no desktop may be good for tablets, not for PCs. And for occasional users, not for professionals."

^^this

 

 

I keep people saying this in threads but never giving a real reason for their opinion. What is so vital in the desktop? The only thing I see is the ability to tile multiple windows. My use and Microsofts telemetry data shows that the vast mahority of people use their apps fully maximized and the split screen is sufficient for most uses where you need to see 2 screens. On large monitors, you can have more than two apps in the split screen. So, what exactly does the desktop offer that metro can't? Remember that metro doesn't necessarily means it's all touch. The mouse works fine in metro as well.

First of all, metro necessarily means it's all touch. Yes, you can use them with the mouse, but Microsoft doesn't allow metro apps that are unusable with fingers. Remember that all the published apps can be used with tablets other than PCs.

Second, the desktop offers infinite possibilities.
Programming speaking, you can develop software that interacts with usb, all kind of disks, low level access to hardware... everything. You don't have any restriction, you can even deploy a software that hooks operating system calls, or run with system privileges.
In metro you have a lot of restrictions that doesn't allow you to do 99% of the software available for the desktop. Firefox can't even develop its browser for Windows RT!

User Interface speaking, the Metro environment is completely unusable for complex softwares. We don't want full screen apps that you can resize only to put another app on the other side... this is just a toy.
We need full resizeable and draggable windows, in order to put as much as windows we want, where we want, even one partially over another one. We need small controls, customizeable ribbons, floating windows, etc.

Considering what you said, I don't think you will ever understand.
Proabably, for you, a PC is just word, excel, internet explorer and some other stupid software.
But there are infinite software that cannot be developed with the metro sdk, and even if so they will be unusable because the metro basic interface.
 

Agreed. For some daily office usages like editing document on the go and other modern-avaliable apps, Modern UI should be sufice. This way, we could throw away the traditional Windows that maintain the desktop and resulting bigger available space. Having desktop, the current 32 GB Surface will have around 16 GB left. 10 GB is a dead sure for Windows itself. And another additional like Office, etc using up to 6 GB. This is the major issue actually since apps can only installed on this storage (apps cannot installed on microSD).

But for full-blown Windows (x86) counterpart, there should be an option which differentiate desktop inclusion. For most tablet like TransformerBook T100 which using Bay Trail, doesn't have any desktop may or may not an issue. But for those who use Haswell, high chance that they are use it for more advance productions. Let says Visual Studio itself, for an example. I can't imagine we run Visual Studio on Modern UI environment since it needs all what it needs for debugging. This also goes for Servers where a lots of background process (a.k.a services) which still unknown how to install services via Modern UI, CMIIW.

So in RT, desktop exclusion should be virtually no problem. In x86 however, depends on the device usage itself since more advance productivity clearly still need the desktop.

While all that is true, I don't like software that does all of that stuff. If it runs with system privileges, then it very often doesn't need to, unless it's a virus scanner or a transparent disk encrypter. Almost everything I want to run (up to and including Eclipse and any number of tools) don't need that. If permissions are set up right, and the program isn't doing dirty hacks, then they don't need most of that stuff.

Also, complex software doesn't mean complex UI. I'm writing this on Firefox, which is a very complex bit of kit, but a simple UI. If you work for IBM, where any level of software complexity seems to mandate a complex-looking, ugly UI then I totally understand why you're saying what you're saying, but for a vast number of complex applications a touch interface is very possible. And if you're going to be so condescending, then at least give examples and state why a touch-based UI couldn't accommodate said examples. Remember, not every app needs to be touchscreen only; they can require a keyboard as well.

Excluding softwares that run on system privileges, there are a lot of simple software that cannot be implemented in metro (winRT) because the programming interfaces are extremely restricted.
You cannot open a listening socket (which means you cannot implement any kind of server, or peer to peer software, or multiplayer games using direct communication between two devices...);
you cannot have a background process always running (which means you cannot implement chat clients like mIRC or google talk, mail clients, game tools like teamspeak...);
and there are a lot of other restrictions that makes impossible to port even web browsers (because it's impossible to write a decent javascript engine).
And all of those (including web browsers like firefox) are simple software compared to professional ones.
How can you think to get rid of the desktop when you have no valid alternatives?

About the UI, just to provide some examples, these are professional softwares that requires a user interface so detailed that will never fit into a metro UI:
AutoCAD: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PrksP2Jrrho/UNnf6V6xNvI/AAAAAAAABDg/3vaF2hbxAZ...
Autodesk maya: http://img.brothersoft.com/screenshots/softimage/a/autodesk_maya_2010-33...
matlab: http://www.sph.emory.edu/about/information_technology/images/matlabdeskt...
photoshop: http://www.islandfooddelivery.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/photoshop-p...
etc...

And you are not considering the considerations I made about windows... you need them to be fully resizable and fully draggable in order to have them exactly where you want on the screen.
You need the taskbar, because you don't use only 1 application during your work, and you need to switch easily and fastly between the applications... and sometimes you need to drag something between two different applications.

I'd probably kill myself ifthat happened. Metro doesn't allow for nice multitasking, meaning highly-customizable resizing of windows and such. Having this vertically-lock, slice-like multitasking would suck without an alternative.

Agreed: true multitasking is best done in desktop mode of Windows 8 running dual monitors. There I can have a ton of stuff open and easily switch between them. I like 'modern' mode, on my Surface, and occassionally on my laptop, but if they got rid of desktop mode completely, I'd be furious. Office Gemini seems like a good idea, especially for using office on tablets, but I am worried about the state of the operating system. Right now it's a Jekyll and Hyde setup where Desktop mode and Modern mode do not interact well together and you find many programs with different version in each (e.g. Skydrive, Internet Explorer, Skype, etc.), which confuses a lot of users who don't understand why they have two versions of certain programs. Is that what we're going to get with Office Gemini so that every PC running Office now has two versions of Word, two versions of Excel, etc? Because surely they can't get rid of the 'keyboard-and-mouse' desktop version of Office. That would piss off everyone in the enterprise realm.

It sucks already. I would love to have the ability to run Metro apps in Windowed mode on the desktop, and not be stuck with the full screen monstrosity on a huge display. And NO the lame side by side thing is useless for serious multitasking.

 

 

 

And I think the small windows suck for most apps. Most apps will either require a lot of scrolling or will make the text real small. Microsofts research shows the vast majority of people don't make use of the tiled windows. Most professionals now have 2 or more monitors. Using tiled windows just isn't that useful anymore. When I had a single monitor, I had to use it. With 2 monitors, I never use it anymore. For the rare occasion I need more than 2 apps on the screen at the same time, I just use the split screen.

That's a great plan, except there is about a trillion dollars worth of desktop software out there that businesses and individuals depend on in their daily lives that is never going to be ported to Metro.  Not ever.  This is a big problem for the "Let's just forget about the desktop!" flower children.

How much software existed for dos? How much existed for windows 95? Do those programs work in window xp and higher? Most don't. Microsoft supported these apps for a while and then when most software vendors updated, they killed the support and some software wouldn't work on newer machines. I'm sure you will find some windows 95/98 machines in some companies because their old software was never updated and they keep a machine just in case they ever need to access the old software. The will keep the desktop around for several years and then, just as before, they will kill support for the legacy software.

That screenshot of OneNote did it for me. Awesome.

 

I like this idea because hopefully this will bleed into WP8 sometime.

 

^This. OneNote the app is sorely missing features that OneNote the [desktop] application has, and the app makes some tasks more difficult than its desktop brother. I try to use the app, but often close it in frustration and switch to the application. BTW, Office apps for WP are in desperate need of fleshing out the basics. Can't even cut-/copy-paste cells in Excel. Makes it almost useless.

+1, I hope Microsoft starts putting its customers before the iOS and Android ones from now on, especially when it comes to Windows Phone.

I have not decided to go with WP just to see all Microsoft producs work better and sooner on iOS and Android.

 

 

That has been one of the things that I have heard to be a detriment to the RT platform...the desktop.  It's difficult to navigate on the desktop w/a 10" touch screen and the fact that you need to go back and forth to use Office is quite cumbersome.

It'll be nice to see a full-blown "Office RT" as it were to remove that complaint.

It would be nice if all the variations of XAML (WPF, Silverlight, WP UI, W8 UI) would be more unified.

It's a waste for me. I'm gonig to see if I can sell it on ebay. I have a 1TB hard drive, I don't need the cloud. But you do what works for you. HOw about that buddy.

You can't access your network storage from Pro? Also, 1TB is a lot of data to lose when the drive crashes, better think about your backup strategy.

Yes, but why do you'll always be able to access your network? It's in a portable form for a reason. I have a 1TB hard drive, not 1TB of files. Back up stragey? Maybe you should think about  paying MS $100 bucks a year for 200GB of storage space once the initial deal is up.

I'm with 1jax. I do not like the cloud. I want my files local in my possession. No one elses. Amd if they want to force the cloud use on us it should just be free for unlimited amount and file size.

How are they not showing the Pro users love?  The RT has both a sd card slot and a full size USB, doesn't the Pro?  They just added Skydrive integrated into the file explorer, for those of us who do use it.

The RT comes with office, the Pro comes with a year of Skype Credit and the 200GB of Skydrive for 2 years vouchers. All I was stating was  that I would have liked Office over Skype/Skydrive

Thank you, I don't get why some people think 'the cloud' is somehow better that local storage. If I wanted a cloud I would buy a home server and create my own cloud where I always have complete control over my data.

 

 

 

After a gazillion drive crashes over the years, multiple raid controller failures resulting in data corruption, "the cloud" starts looking like a good solution. 

I must be lucky. I've never had drive crashes. But I usually replace each one after a couple of years. I'd rather do that then let someone intentionally hold every bit of info I have. I'm also not a fan of subscriptions in any way shape or form. If it was built like a hdd or ssd were I pay 100 for 1tb of data for any length of time or file size then I may look into it.

I'm old and have had a lot of machines is why I've had so many.  I'm assuming the price of services like Skydrive will go down.

Its not that its better or worse, just extremely nice option to have. I'm a consultant and constantly travelling. Any option that means I don't need to worry about packing one more device, I appreciate. Will I always have network connectivity? No, but there's enough options where its less of an issue. Hard drives/connections fail or get forgotten. I'd rather look for WiFi than simply be SOL BC I can't access my external drive.

As for jax's gripe of getting skype\skydrive over Office I can empathize. Would be nice to be given option of which benefit to go with via unlock key\offer.

And what do you do when just one of the myriad of bits and pieces between your device and your cloud storage goes down? Or what to do if your account is hacked? Your question about a backup strategy still applies, and I would argue that now backup is even more complicated.

Rightfully so. When you get an Apple tablet then you can expect more Apple software and when you get an MS tablet then you should have more MS software.

 

MS also needs to wonder if they shouldnt delay Office for iOS at least for another decade. Too many managers want to use tablets for everything. Whether or not it increases productivity entire departments would be on iOS if they got the change. Microsoft shouldnt facilitate such a move. Especially now that they have their own sollid alternative.

I was thinking the exact same thing - keep office as windows exclusive.  That, or make it 365 only, or........charge like 20$ for each program based on need......If you need word, excel, and powerpoint, pay 60$.....but if your running windows 8 tablet - get it for FREEEEEEE

Actually PowerPoint touch has already been demonstrated, I hope the suite is released early next year then drop the desktop on RT.

In the next major release of Windows, assuming they can do away with the desktop, they should drop the RT brand entirely, which they have already stopped using in reference to the Surface 1.  Just call the basic version Windows 9, which would be without the desktop for both ARM and Intel devices.  However, Intel machine would be upgradeable to Windows 9 Pro, which would have the desktop.  There would of course still be an Enterprise version as well.  The desktop is not going away entirely anytime soon, but it does need to be removed from the basic version.

I will buy arm all day long over Intel. So rt on my tablet is where its at. Now for my desktop its AMD only. When Intel decides to stop being in bed with apple then ill look into there products.

You might as well ditch your ARM-based RT tablet too. Guess who Apple is in bed with for their ARM-based processor design...

It's great to see them focus on adding "touch" Office for their own ecosystem first!  A great step in the right direction.

This, from a business perspective, is exactly what Microsoft needed to do. They were losing business space to iPads due to portability, but they're finally learning that app exclusivity is going to keep them in the game.

Windows Phone has suffered without popular apps to tout like Instagram, Candy Crush, and Vine. Right now, they're turning the tables for the business market since large business customers are going to ask "Yeah, but does it have Office?" It doesn't hurt that the Surface (and many other Windows 8 tablets) are, as someone put it, solid alternatives.

Finally Microsoft put their OS in front of the competition, unlike that unfortunate episode concerning the desktop for iOS/Android being released BEFORE Windows Phone.

As long as there's a complete proper Office (specially Word) on RT, I think there will be no problem in removing the desktop.

But full Windows? No. Desktop isn't going anywhere for many years. No matter how hard MS tries. And I'm fine with that.

Fine with me. I spend about 75% of my time using desktop applications on my Surface Pro, compared to apps. App devs need to step it up on the features. Touch does not mean an app has to be functionally neutered, but that's what I see in the productivity type apps.

Awesome News. Not only is it great to know that a touch optimised version of office is being developed, its maybe as good to hear that Microsoft is finally learning to prioritize correctly. Hopefully they will forget to develop office for iOS all together :)

This is good news. However they also need office on iPad too. While iWork is pretty crap currently, it's clear with the feature reset that Apple just did between the ios and OSX versions that they intend to build it up steadily over a period of quarters/years as a competitor eventually. Its miles away from being even small business ready now but office on iPad now will stop it dead. Microsoft can't afford to be caught napping again. They have to look inwards AND outwards. Same goes for Android and Google Docs. Web versions are not the same thing.

Office on iPad would further seed entry of iPads into the corporate market. This is a brilliant move on MS part.

Two points. Lack of Office has not stopped nor will it stop penetration of iPads in a BYOD environment. There is three years of pretty bullet proof data to support that. Second, my point is also about protecting Office as a product line/business unit. Giving iWorks away is a clear reveal of intention. It is Offices biggest threat because of iPad penetration.

I think the software is going to be what matters in the end.  I'd much rather be the team porting Candy Crush and Instagram to Surface, on MS dime, than the guys trying to clean-room an Office clone for the iPad. I see what you are saying, though, and you could absolutely turn out to be correct but only time will tell.

If MSFT had any brains at all they would have added a scalable UI API to Win32 instead of forcing major rewrites of every existing Win32 program (the largest "ecosystem" that ever existed). They could have backported the new scalable UI API and system to Windows 7 via a Service Pack to jumpstart the new ecosystem. Unfortunately, they went off on this RT tangent (with zero users and zero developers). I'm not sure that they'll ever recover from this disaster.

If they are planning to make a version of office that is akin to their OneNote MX then shoot me now (pardon the melodrama). OneNote MX lacks so many features that although I want to stay in the Metro world, I am compelled to go back to the desktop. So many features are missing or limited. If I want to zoom in closer or choose the thinnest pen tip then I have to go to the desktop. Collapse subpages of a printout...back to the desktop. Highlight text...back to the desktop. Heck, in 8.1 if I want to view my notes in a 50%/50% split screen...back to the desktop. So many basic features are missing. I'd be cursing if I had paid for OneNote MX. If they create a Word or Excel that has the same proportion of excluded features as you see in OneNote MX, I'm not sure who would get any use out of it.

That's the entire problem, though, the differings needs of casual users vs power users.  That's the entire metro vs desktop paradigm.  It solves a real problem, that some of these older applications have become so feature-dense that they are difficult for new or casual users to use. 

I agree.....until I can open a file explorer as its own scaleable snapped window, say upper corner, or lower corner, etc.....I want desktop to stay in windows RT. The modern ui file explorer that is snapped full vertical screen is just not great. I go back to desktop whenever i need to do file management, so much easier.

Hate to go off on a tangent here, but damn they really should have offered Office for Surface Pro buyers. That thing is expensive as hell, can't you at least toss in something to *help* make it worthwhile? These are the types of things they need to do to not only convince people that the Surface Pro is a better alternative, but to also buy the damn thing.

 

Just my $0.02

When compared to other options in the market it is reasonably priced. Not only that, Surface (nonPro) and other Windows RT devices have Office which really puts it way ahead of any tablet in terms of functionality.

About time MS decided to bolster the main differentiator in their software catalog for their tablet line... As long as they keep Access in the touch enabled version, I'm all for it... I know they probably won't, but that would killer for a person like me. Plus, they need to quit dumbing down the versions of Excel that aren't the desktop verison. Anyone ever tried to use the Office 365 version of excel??? It's usuable, but you're not doing anything powerfull in it. I also know this won't happen, but having access to the VBA editor in a touch friendly version of Word/Excel/Access would appeal to power users who actually use MS products to make a living.

I don't think there will be a windows 9. At least not for a while. It seems like Microsoft is wanting to go with the apple model. Keeping OS X around and constantly updating it. I think windows 8 will see 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 etc. Maybe once a year, with lesser updates 8.1.1 etc mixed in. At least that's what I feel their trying to get to. I could be completely wrong though.

I disagree.  I think there will be a Windows 9, and it will be a version where Metro apps and desktop apps can work together harmoniously, rather than living in two separate worlds.  Some third parties demoed desktop apps running as Metro apps or the other way 'round, I don't remember.  Microsoft has to wake up at some point to the reality that the desktop isn't going away.  There are too many people depending on it and not enough money in the world to port all the software that would need to be ported.

Windows 9 will also be where Windows Phone and Windows RT coalesce and the result is given a name that is not monumentally stupid.

This might be wishful thinking.

I will stick with the "old" office for as while, but if MS brings a complete office (including access and access runtime) to the RT platform, it is certainly worth looking into abandoning the classic desktop down the line.... As as for office for apple being delayed? LMAO... Apple sure has am app for that and iPad users just have to wait... Couldn't care less about them

Personally, I don't want it released on the iPad .. It's perhaps the most important trump card Microsoft has

The iOS app requires an office 365 account ! Unless you have that you can only stare at the app and cry ! WinRT has it preinstalled and running out of the box !

I think the 365 model is good. There is a real incentive to subscribe, since users will not only be able to use Office on their Apples devices, but of course on Windows machines. How many iPads owners also have Windows PC, a lot. Hopefully they still dump their iPads for Windows tablet!

I prefer the new ModernUI look ! Just get all the legacy desktop apps on board and you can completely shut down the desktop until that ..... NO ! -_-

I really hope this new UI bleeds over to the Mobile Office on WPs... those programs are way too limited! The fact that Excel doesn't even have copy/paste of cells was hard to believe. Or that you only have a few colors available... here's to dreaming!

 

Not saying I necessarily want ribbons, but if they get Office to function right on touchscreen devices, hopefully that functionality will come to WP as well.

This is exactly how it should be, a Microsoft platform getting preferential treatment from Microsoft!!

Well of course!  Office should be on RT for like a year before Apple gets it, and Android should *never* get it to punish Google for their antics with YouTube.

Finally a sensible decision!, armed with this and this video http://microsoft-news.com/must-watch-this-video-shows-the-full-power-of-microsoft-surface-2/ will certainly help my case when I put the Lumia 2520 forward as replacement device at work :P.. they still run windows xp!.. If the IT guy had his way the entire office would be invaded by apple products.. damn trojan horse lol. The only thing thats stopping him is that the cloud based crm is optimised for I.E and Office - the main reason for the switch to the new crm was that it works with safari.. turns out not so well hahahahaha.

Why is it going to IPAD? That's the dumbest thing they can do. On less reason for people to buy the surface now

It was but its delayed, It no longer makes logical sense to have their main USP on competing platforms, especially MS has now become a devices and services company. Whereas if they remained just a software provider it would have made logical and fiscal sense.

I don't know how I feel about getting rid of the desktop. On the plus side, it will definitely free up space, but on the other side of the coin, there goes one of the best file viewing solutions that comes with Windows.

onenote metro is still missing screenshot feature. glad to see them focus on us. hopefully its free too?

Smart move on Microsoft, why would you make your own product available to the rival company before your own company lol. 

What is love to see is Office 2013 with a Ribbon UI tweaked for touch/Metro. Why? To prove to Adobe and other big name apps that you can do sophisticated apps in a modern, simple UI.

OneNote MX made me start using OneNote... And in turn, wonder why the rest of Office isn't available in the RT environment as well...

... now if only they can figure out how to drag and drop between apps in a natural fashion.

The one note MX looks great but it has a critical flaw for me. It can't open files from network drives. It's useless at work. I'll stick with the desktop version unless I need to create a shopping list...

I use The desktop on my surface rt less and less. But still, cmd and explorer and control panel tools need complete and worthy replacements before desktop can go. I don't see win 9 loosing desktop yet. Unless there is 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4 before win 9, another words at least 3 years away.

Microsoft should have released a modern UI version of Office by now. By the time MS actually releases the new Office Windows RT and 8 PC sales could be in the toilet. Office 2013 was a wasted effort. Modern UI will be a wasted effort if they don't release Metro Office soon.

A few years ago both Blackberry and Nokia were still earning profits. Look where both companies are now.

The most enjoyable feature I love about my Surface RT is the DESKTOP. The best file explorer and download management for mobile platform, this is what sets RT more superior than any other tablet for my needs.

 

PLEASE DON'T REMOVE DESKTOP FROM RT MICROSOFT!

I just spent an hour on full featured word on a surface RT. It works fine but I prefer the interface solutions they have in OneNote MX. Removing the ribbon in OneNote MX and replacing it with the "wheel" makes it touch friendly but also small screen friendly because you don't have your screen size adjusting anytime you need the full version ribbon. The wheel floats on top of your work and is less disruptive.