Windows 8 Office 15 apps to have fake Metro skin say insiders

Windows 8 will lack a Metro UI version of Office 15, it's been suggested, with insufficient time blamed for what will amount to merely "interface tweaks" to better suit the pared-down menus. Although a Metro version of Office has been tipped for some time, the practicalities involved in rebuilding the software using WebRT in time for the OS' launch later this year mean the actual app will be a halfway house between traditional and Metro, The Verge's sources say.

Rather than being actual WebRT Metro apps, Office 15 on Windows 8 machines will – at least initially – simply feature a more streamlined UI. The interface "will be flatter, feature more white space, and use fewer lines in an effort to focus on content" it's said, but underneath will be the regular apps.

Interestingly, the Office 15 version for Windows 8 on ARM machines will supposedly be the desktop software as well. It will run in what's described as a "restricted Windows 8 ARM desktop mode" that prioritizes power efficiency; it's unclear if Microsoft will be allowing other software providers to use this wrap technology.

A proper WebRT version of Office 15 could still be in the pipeline. Meanwhile, Microsoft is supposedly readying two WebRT apps from the Office suite, at least; OneNote and Lync – the company's digital notetaking software and its communications package – are both being prepared in Metro versions, presumably for launch alongside the first Windows 8 tablets.

Microsoft announced an Office 15 Technical Preview earlier this week, though spaces filled up before the company could even open it to the public. A beta will follow later in the year.