Microsoft Windows 8.1 RTM Eclipsed by Ballmer Exit
Ballmer's upcoming retirement may have taken the spotlight, but Microsoft crossed a major milestone toward the release of the Windows 8.1 update.Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's surprise announcement eclipsed the news of some progress on the Windows front. As the tech world weighed the impact of Ballmer's impending retirement from the software giant, the company took one step closer to the Oct. 17 release of Windows 8.1. According to insiders, Microsoft has released to manufacturing the awaited free update. As the term suggests, "release to manufacturing," or RTM, is the final code that software publishers release to retail. Following a tweet from Microsoft watcher Paul Thurrott, which revealed the RTM build for Windows 8.1 (build number 9600.16384.130821-1623), CNET's Mary Jo Foley reported on Aug. 23 that the company is indeed sitting on the finalized code. Foley spoke with a source "who said the internal RTM email made the rounds inside the Windows division on Aug. 23," she wrote. "A third source close to the company confirmed Microsoft RTM'd Windows 8.1 on Aug. 23, and announced internally that the quality metrics for Windows 8.1 were back in line with those of Windows 7."
Windows 8.1, formerly code-named Blue, includes several new enhancements and features that address many of the controversial changes that the company made to its flagship operating system (OS), which launched Oct. 26, 2012. These include new boot-to-desktop options and a resurrected Start button. The OS will also usher in 3D printing support and tighter SkyDrive integration.