Microsoft has announced the release to manufacturing of Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 and Windows Server 2012, and also completed the final builds of Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5.
The release to manufacturing, or RTM, of Windows 8 marks the completion of product development and testing. OEM partners are now armed with final code, and can begin building new Windows 8 PCs and devices to introduce this fall, starting Friday, Oct. 26, for general availability.
In a blog post on the issue, Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc said, People will be able get Windows 8 starting on Oct. 26, either by upgrading for $39.99 or on a new PC or device. And if you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.
According to LeBlanc, here is a rundown of how and when users can gain access to Windows 8:
Aug. 15: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via their MSDN subscriptions.
Aug. 15: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through their TechNet subscriptions.
Aug. 16: 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 their organization.
Aug. 16: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
Aug. 20: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
Sept. 1: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
The Windows Store also is now open for business. RTM delivers the opportunity for developers to publish and offer paid apps. The
blog details how developers can take advantage of the single biggest platform opportunity available.
Starting today, any qualifying business in a supported market can now submit a Metro-style app for Windows 8, said Ted Dworkin, partner program manager for the store, in a blog post. Companies qualify through account registration, which includes an account-verification process. Just so you know, to upload apps to the store, youll need an RTM build of Windows 8. On Aug. 15, well be making the build available to MSDN subscribers and well have a trial version available via TechNet.
Microsoft says Windows 8 can change the way people do business. Features like new Windows 8 apps, new hardware experiences, Windows To Go, enhanced security, DirectAccess and desktop virtualization advancements bring about new opportunities that give organizations value. Microsoft also said it is sharing the final Windows 8 final code with companies like Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and Toshiba that have announced new Windows 8 PCs and devices as well as other partners who are working on products that will be available this fall.
In a separate post, Jason Snover of the Microsoft Windows Server team said on Sept. 4, Windows Server 2012 will be generally available for evaluation and purchase by all customers around the world. On that day, we will also host an online launch event where our executives, engineers, customers and partners will share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS., he said.
Meanwhile, in a post on Visual Studio, Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, said, For MSDN Subscribers, the bits will be available for download on Aug. 15. Visual Studio Professional, Premium, Test Professional, and Ultimate with MSDN subscribers can also sign up for a free, one-year developer account for Windows Store today, with Windows Phone developer accounts coming soon.
Both Somasegar and Jason Zander, Microsofts corporate vice president of Visual Studio noted that Microsoft will host an official Visual Studio 2012 launch event at its Redmond, Wash., campus that developers can attend virtually.
Microsoft initially announced Windows 8 at its BUILD conference in Sept. 2011 in Anaheim, Calif. The BUILD 2012 conference for developers to learn how to better build apps for Windows 8 will run Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 at Microsofts campus in Redmond.