Microsoft has confirmed that its highly anticipated Windows 8 operating system has been released to manufacturing.
Whilst everyone will be able to get their hands on the OS on October 26th when it is released for retail, the company hosts a number of programs, which provide numerous audiences with early access to the Windows 8 RTM code in preparation for its release for retail.
The release schedule for the OS is as follows:
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 organisations 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 Centre (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organisation.
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.
October 26th: Retail copies of Windows 8 will be released to the public, along with Microsoft's Surface tablet PC
President of the Windows division, Steven Sinofsky, said on the Windows engineering blog: "The Windows 8 team is proud to share with you that a short while ago we started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. This means our next milestone will be the availability of exciting new models of PCs loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012."
He continued: "While we have reached our RTM milestone, no software project is ever really 'done.' We will continue to monitor and act on your real world experiences with Windows 8 — we’ve used the preview process to test out our servicing and we have every intent of doing a great job on this next important phase of the product."
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