Windows 8 is getting closer and closer to be released and today sees another major milestone for the latest operating system. Today, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 testing and production has been completed and that the new operating system has been released to manufacturing. This means that OEMs now have access to the OS and can start building PCs with it.
Of course those PCs built won't go on sale quite yet. They will hit the market with the general release of Windows 8, which comes on October 26. Upgrades will be offered for $39.99, or if you have recently purchased a Windows 7 PC, the upgrade will only cost you $14.99. Various audiences will get access to Windows 8 RTM before the rest of us:
- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
- 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 you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
The Windows 8 release preview is still available for users to check out and can be downloaded from Microsoft. As of August 15, developers will have access to the final build of Visual Studio 2012, which will include resources they need to design, build, and sell apps in the Windows Store. We're just under 3 months away from seeing the final version of Microsoft's latest OS.