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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  • Belard - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    It'll make Vista look like a speed bump. LOL!

    Waiting for glorious failure of this garbage.
  • SlyNine - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Sad thing is, by listing to the users that don't like it. They could satisfy both by changing 2 things, little things all in all. Why are they trying to shove this down our throats.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    They're not... you can still buy Windows 7
  • zhadum - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    For how long? We don't know yet how long manufacturers will be allowed to sell new systems with Windows 7.
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    LOL Don't COUNT ON IT!

    A) MS ripped out the Start button/menu on WIn8... It really should have been an option. After all, you are only a few clicks from making Windows7 look like Windows 2000.

    B) When Win7 hit the market, vista was gone... I think it ended up being buried next to some ET games.

    C) MS wants to rape us with Windows 8, there are no options. Only if people are screaming and doing returns and demanding Win7 would we see Win7 continue.

    Even during most of the Vista era, only a few select OEMs (ThinkPad) offered XP... but of course, we could still buy XP OEM.

    So, if there is NO Windows7 for the common folks to buy... then what is a person supposed to do? Linux... here is another chance.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    What if it doesn't fail?
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    It could happen.... Yep, people could be falling in love with it. Some of us could be wrong. I'm betting... it'll be hated and MS will release SP1 within 3 months with a FIX to make it all better.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Hardly... This time machines will be sold with, at least, 2Gb ram so we won't suffer the same Vista/Superfectch 'consumers have no idea what they're doing' thing.

    P.s. I see a load of things in Windows 8 that'll make me change... it's new and fresh for a start and that's good enough for me and it's DAMN easy to use with a mouse on the desktop
  • ananduser - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    ...are the ones that can't seem to realize that Win8 has 2 GUIs separated by 1 click.
    ...are the ones that think that by the time W9 hits(when they will upgrade) they'll have xerox parc GUI exclusively.
    ...are the ones that whine so that they have something to whine.
  • maximumGPU - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Some people might have genuine reasons not to like Win8, but all i hear and read again and again is metro this metro that, when desktop is just a click away. It's getting old real fast.
    No one ever bothers to talk about all the other improvments Win 8 will be bringing.
    Guess it's the same whenever something new and fresh comes along, some can't fathom the idea of changing their beloved habits, even for something that could potentially be better.
    Wait until you've spent more time with Win 8 before jumping on your keyboards and whining.

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