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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  • Pirks - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - link

    Ha ms-dos is officially ruined by win 3.0 no turning back now
  • Proxy711 - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    I'd rather use Dos again then Win 8.
  • JNo - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Go on then you do that.

    What, you don't want to?

    Oh I guess my comment was just as glib as your one then...
  • Spunjji - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    I'd rather you sued DOS as well. You wouldn't be able to post pointless comments like that on here, for a start.
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    I'd rather use my C=128 then Windows8!
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    ? It's hardly changes at all in the great scheme of things. Kind of like have WMC launch at start
  • tipoo - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    As we all know one lackluster release always decimates their ~90% marketshare.

    Oh wait.
  • Spunjji - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Herp sherp is officially derped HERPADERPA

    ^ That's what I saw when I tried to read your comment.
  • frostyfiredude - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - link

    Nice! Can't wait to throw it on my desktop, running the RP right now and it's awesome! Going back to Windows 7 just feels odd now.
  • rs2 - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    I haven't seen anything in Windows 8 that makes me feel like I'd be missing out if I stay with Windows 7. I think I'll wait for Windows 9 to roll out before I upgrade my OS.

    Windows 8 is shaping up to be a repeat of the Vista debacle, in my opinion.

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