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Office for Windows on ARM: Free or not?

February 14, 2012 06:40 AM ET

Questions -- lots of questions -- remain, but eventually Microsoft will have to clarify the Office with WOA deal, although not any time soon. "The pricing and licensing [of a new product] are always the last things they reveal," said Michael Cherry of Directions on Microsoft.

Silver doesn't expect to get the full story until just weeks before WOA goes RTM, or "Release to Manufacturing," the milestone label that describes when code is completed and ready to hand off to OEMs for inclusion on devices.

"It is very possible that a lot of the details haven't been ironed out yet, and that they're still working on the exact licensing policy vis-a-vie enterprises and the features to be included [in the WOA Office apps] for the consumer market," Hilwa said.

Or those details are already set, but the dearth of answers are just part of Microsoft's attempt to emulate the secrecy popularized by rival Apple.

"They're only putting out the information that they feel is necessary to get out the message that WOA is an integrated environment," said Hilwa. "They had to respond to the discussion around the value of the platform because they're now trying to attract developers, who have to decide whether to support it or not before actual devices are on the market."

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at Twitter@gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed Keizer RSS. His e-mail address is gkeizer@ix.netcom.com.

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