It appears that yesterday's report from Mary Jo Foley about Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1 in October was correct. Today, the company confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be arriving in digital download format at 12:00AM on October 18 in New Zealand, which means it will launch in the US at 12:00AM on October 17.
While digital downloads go on sell on the 17, retail copies of the operating system will not be available for in-store purchase until October 18. Microsoft says that Windows 8.1 "continues the vision we began with Windows 8 and is an example of our commitment to continuous innovation and improvement for our customers. And Windows 8.1 brings many improvements in areas like personalization, Internet Explorer 11, search which is powered by Bing, built-in apps including a few new ones, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive (and much more) that people will enjoy."