Right on schedule, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing on the first day of the first week of August.

Microsoft has put out a full press release, which we have attached below, but of course the meats of the announcement are dates and prices. Unfortunately Microsoft has yet to announce any prices for OEM/System Builder or Retail copies of Windows 8 beyond the previously announced $40 upgrade promotion, so we’re still left wondering what pricing on the full version will be. We would be surprised if it was much different than Windows 7, but we shall see.

In the meantime what Microsoft lacks in pricing information they more than make up for in dates, having released a complete list of Windows 8 availability dates for all of their major customer groups. The important dates are August 15th for MSDN/TechNet customers, and October 26th (as previously announced) for retail customers and systems pre-loaded with Windows 8. For those of you thinking of testing it as early as possible via TechNet, do keep in mind however that along with TechNet’s use restrictions, the service now also requires that you keep an active TechNet subscription to keep using any software provided through it.

Finally, the build number for Windows 8 is widely rumored to be (and we believe to be accurate) 9200.16384.win8_rtm.120725-1247.

Today, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM) – marking 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, October 26, at General Availability. 

RTM marks an important milestone for Windows 8, and with that comes notable enhancements, new opportunities and continued capabilities without compromise:

  • Launch of Windows Store commerce platform. RTM delivers the opportunity for developers to publish and offer paid apps. The Windows Store for developers blog details how developers can take advantage of the single biggest platform opportunity available.  
  • Business (not) as usual. 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. The Windows for your Business blog provides details and new guidance for enterprise customers.
  • Partners are “all in.” We are excited to share the final code with companies like Lenovo, Acer, ASUSand Toshibawho have announced new Windows 8 PCs and devices as well as other partners who are working on products that will be available this fall. 

So what’s next, you ask?

  • August 15:
  • Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via MSDN subscriptions.
  • IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 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 the opportunity to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organizations.
  • Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8
  • August 20: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) will receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
  • October 26: Windows 8 will be available to consumers either by upgrading or on a new PC. Eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased now qualify for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

More information about Windows 8 RTM can be found in the B8 blog, Windows for your Business blog and Windows Store for developers blog.

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  • augiem - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Funny, I use Vista 64 on my main machine and Windows 7 on my secondary and both work just great, are stable, and fast. Granted both have annoyances compared to XP but I've tried my best to plug those holes with 3rd party software.

    Making Windows 7 feel like Vista is not an insult.

    Using Windows 8 on a desktop feels like I'm using a prototype meant to be released 2-3 years from now, not 2-3 months. So many aspects of the new UI were not thought through well at all.
  • tipoo - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    There are a huge amount of strides forward in Windows 8, it's just the swapping between Metro and Explorer that bugs me, and as apps get written specifically for one or the other that will get worse.
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    It's pretty much just like changing from Word to Excel. Not exactly a pain
  • augiem - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Multitasking between Metro apps and Metro and the desktop is terribly awkward and slow.
  • augiem - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    meant to say multitasking between Metro apps and Metro apps or Metro Apps and desktop apps is awkward and slow.
  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, August 6, 2012 - link

    Windows Explorer is also worse than before, that's what bothers me the most. Instead of tightening things up like the awful preference panes and control panel, they oversimplify with Metro and further complicate by adding a GD ribbon to Explorer.

  • KoolAidMan1 - Monday, August 6, 2012 - link

    Apparently Microsoft looks like a damsel in distress, here's B3an coming in to white knight them once again
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Are you not feeling well? Maybe have a sit down and rest
  • powerarmour - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Agreed, what a garish and Frankensteined monstrosity it is.
  • Randomblame - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - link

    Ha windows is officially ruined no turning back now

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