Microsoft Wednesday announced Windows 8 has reached Release to Manufacturing (RTM), the latest milestone in the launch of the Windows 8 operating system. With this milestone, industry partners are readying products in time for the Windows 8 worldwide launch on 26 October, 2012.
The RTM milestone is an important part in the Windows lifecycle, as it marks the completion of code development that has been driven by customer and developer feedback since preview versions became available starting last September.
As mentioned earlier, customers running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99.
Select audiences, including developers, IT professionals and partners will have early access to final RTM code beginning later this month. On August 15th, developers building new apps for Windows 8 will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via an MSDN subscription, and can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to the final build of Visual Studio 2012.
The same day IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organisations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through aTechNet subscription on August 16th customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing them to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within the organization. Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8 the same day.
The final steps before the final release will be on August 20th when Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8 and September 1st when Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
Developers can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to all the tools and resources they need to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. While all apps during the preview phases were free, at RTM developers can begin charging for apps, so those with access to RTM bits will begin to see paid apps appear in the Windows Store.
Microsoft Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing Release Date Schedule:
- August 15: MSDN and Technet subscribers can download Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing
- August 16: Microsoft Partner Network and Software Assurance members get access to Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing
- August 20: Microsoft Action Pack developers will be able to access Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing.
- October 26: Retail Release of Windows 8 and Windows 8 PC’s/devices.