Confirmed: Outlook 2013 RT will be a desktop app

As we mentioned on Wednesday, Microsoft was not all that clear on whether the upcoming Outlook 2013 RT app would be confined to the Windows RT desktop, or if it had been designed as a newer Modern UI app. Microsoft added to the confusion when whomever was in charge of the official Surface Twitter account posted word that it would be "a Windows Store app, not desktop."

Well, we can now safely put this issue to rest. A Microsoft spokesperson called Neowin to tell us that Outlook 2013 RT will indeed run on the desktop. That means the @Surface tweet was incorrect - or perhaps just carelessly worded; despite not being a Modern UI app, Outlook RT is still expected to be distributed via the Windows Store as part of the overall Windows 8.1 update.

Paul Thurrott of Winsupersite managed to get his hands on an early version of Outlook 2013 RT on his own Surface RT tablet, and the screenshots reveal its desktop interface. This is consistent with most of Microsoft's other Office 2013 programs which, while optimized for touchscreens, have maintained the same basic desktop UI in their transition to Windows RT. 

Thurrott says Windows RT device owners will be able to download the first public version of Outlook 2013 RT when the free preview version of the Windows 8.1 upgrade is released on June 26th, with a final version due by the end of the year.

Image via Paul Thurrott

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41 Comments

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'Looks about as touch friendly as a scorpion at a kids party'

Where are Windows 8 Office Metro Apps? Why are they so late? Why are MS pushing desktop apps on a tablet?

Though I find the naming strange (why call it RT if it's not a Windows store app?), it was quite obvious this was going to be desktop app, since Office Gemini isn't due until October http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft...until-fall-2014-7000013819/
Also, if anyone here has watched the Defrag episode from May 8th, you would've noticed that at one point, when Gov opens the task manager, one of the apps listed is "Lync Windows Store App".

Let's hope that W8.1 removes the restriction for installing desktop appliactions!! Those restrictions are biting Microsoft in the ass! Would be nice if you can recompile your apps for RT! A lot of open source software has already been recompiled for RT but you have to use a crack to disable the restriction. Microsoft should be happy that there are still people willing to buy a RT device and spending time on it, why preventing them to do with it their own device what they like to do with it!! Crazy!!

Finally, some people that get it. Actually this thread has a lot more positive responses than some of the previous threads on the topic of Outlook RT being a desktop application. And I'm glad that's what it is.

To those that want the desktop removed from RT - go get an ipad. The Surface and Windows 8/RT is designed for convertible devices, and Office as a desktop application makes perfect sense as doing any serious typing you're going to be using a real keyboard. Hence why the full featured Office apps are on the desktop where they belong. Maybe some future stripped down modern ui touch Office apps might be preferred by some people, but I'm probably not one of them.

The Desktop only exists on RT because there are no office Metro Apps and because some of the control panel items must still exist in desktop mode. Lets make our customers deal with the legacy desktop until we can provide everything they want in a Metro environment.

All the people whining obviously have no real need for Outlook so why not just use the Mail app? I am sure in time there will be modern (and quite possibly stripped down versions) of most Office apps but before you go and slam Microsoft for not making Office all Metro, maybe think about the development effort required to do so - they would've had to delay everything with several more years.

My understanding is that the Modern UI was designed for touch. They kept the desktop in Windows RT as a bridge until desktop apps moved to Modern UI as well as when the device had a keyboard and mouse attached. This is what makes sense to me and why the Surface is more versatile than the iPad. No keyboard, you use Modern UI optimized for touch. Add keyboard and mouse, you can work in full desktop. Outlook is meant to be used with a keyboard and mouse and that is why it is a desktop app? Since Windows RT is only for tablets, all the desktop apps are touch friendly. Is my understanding correct?

While I'm (still) waiting for the right price/machine in a windows tablet, I bought a Nexus 10 last year and have to say, it's great at what it does (which compared to windows isn't much). But tied to my phone, remote desktop via Jump Desktop gives me all I need and hasn't had a single issue...still want a W8 tablet at some point though.

Wasnt expecting anything else. Would be weird to have word, excel and powerpoint in desktop mode and Outlook in modern UI.

At least now its consistent. The whole office package is available in desktop mode. Which is where it belongs. With keyboard attached the Surface (and other RT tablets are mini-laptops) and with mouse/touchpad the desktop environment is stil where you want to use office.

Of course I do hope for a 'express' version of Office in the modern UI. Something very easy to use to quickly check mails, create documents and add to presentations. Similar to how Adobe created an express version of photoshop.

THat is how the average consumer wants its apps to be. I can easily use desktop but I think for most activities the modern UI is much better. I like the concept of two interfaces. One for quick (touch) access and one for advanced access (with mouse).

runningnak3d said,
If Microsoft can't even convert their own apps to Metro, how do they expect other people to? FAIL

modern apps are supposed to be more basic by design, no way could you introduce all the options outlook has via modern ui, modern apps need to be simple to use and not bogged down with features

Oh, it can been done. However with Office, you just cannot make drastic changes like what they did to Windows. There are millions of PC users out their that when they boot up their system, all they do is work within Office, and not even touch the OS until the end of the day when they shutdown their machine ...if they even shutdown their machines regularly.

The other Office RT components are desktop apps yet when Outlook turns out to be the same people moan and bitch. Weird.

Unlike the rest of Office, I spend most of my life using Outlook and a touch-friendly Metro version would have been a great replacement for the current Mail app.

bankajac said,
Was hoping for a Modern UI app. Not sure why they went this route? Why even have a desktop on a tablet?

Personal preferences?
I have used a Tablet PC since XP Tablet OS and I would not be interested in a device without the desktop. It might be that down the road the Metro paradigm will evolve and the desktop willl become redundant but, if this will ever happen, it is still long way to Tipperary....

bankajac said,
Was hoping for a Modern UI app. Not sure why they went this route? Why even have a desktop on a tablet?

Spoken like someone that doesn't have a Windows RT device I guess.

Don't knock it til you try it, please.

bankajac said,
Was hoping for a Modern UI app. Not sure why they went this route? Why even have a desktop on a tablet?

For many people including myself this is the devices main selling point, Click in and do more ie run secpol.msc to import a security policy from the NSA gpedit.msc to make the surface update from a WSUS server and even run the full version of outlook excel and powerpoint.

The keybord has a touchpad. Lets see an ipad or android do any of the above.

Cyborg_X said,

Then keep using you ipad

The poster was asking a legit question. Instead you respond with a comment that has no place in this discussion. Can we get a poll of the average age of Neowin users?

before anyone else complains about how bulky it is. It's in "Touch mode" (you can tell because of the quick access icon in the screenshot).

Windows RT device owners will be able to download the first public version of Outlook 2013 RT when the free preview version of the Windows 8.1 upgrade is released on June 26th, with a final version due by the end of the year.

No. Microsoft has confirmed on Twitter that Outlook RT will come bundled with the 8.1 update for Windows RT users. And that it won't be available as a separate download on Windows Store for them.
https://twitter.com/surface/status/342692686110801920

In fact they are all related together (at least on pro). Problem is, Outlook doesn't link to any of them. Also, the icon on the new start menu (doesn't know the name) is a small square thing and the mail apps icon cannot be used to start outlook. Would be great to be able to tell the mail icon to use outlook instead and still have the widget feature of the mail apps.

ccoltmanm said,
Looks about as touch friendly as a scorpion at a kids party.

How so? EVery button seems to be large enough to be pointed at by a finger.

ccoltmanm said,
Looks about as touch friendly as a scorpion at a kids party.
The buttons in the app are just about as large as the shortcut icons in the taskbar, of which I know for sure are clickable. If I can easily navigate the desktop on my Surface Pro (1080p) at 100% scaling, then most RT devices should be just fine for people with average vision.

I have been using Office 2013 Pro Plus on my win 8 pro and it have the same UI. Everything is touch friendly. Don't mind the scrollbar as you scroll like a mouse (directly in the list). Unless you can't use a keyboard because your finger are too big, you shouldn't have any problem