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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  • Spunjji - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Double-agreed. tired of the whining now. Too many self-entitled "experts" out there who are pissed off that the world is changing around them.
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    There is a lot to like about Windows8. A lot of little improvements that makes it a worthy replacement of windows7. But yeah, metro being bolted makes it worthless. I wouldn't spend $1 to buy Win8.

    So what if YOU don't agree with others, what makes your OPINION on it more valid than mine or others? Did you or anyone see any such posts about Windows7? Win7 was so nice and stable, I installed the RC version on all my computers.

    And by all means, I think MS did a great job on Ribbon, I'm okay with Ribbon Explorer. Some good and bad things about explorer, but mostly good (nothing to do with ribbon).

    Metro for the desktop isn't good. Its new, its different, I'm open to change. I use iOS, Android, metro on my phone... they work. Metro on a desktop? ugh. Its sloppy, its ugly. They metro-ized the Desktop so it looks like Windows7 Basic.

    Microsoft has gone "full retard".

    Win8 metro adds NOTHING to the user experience. Its a big-ass launcher start-menu sucking up the screen, nothing more. If you are in desktop, then the live tiles are rather useless, eh? Since metro can't be seen from the desktop, its useless. Metro apps are full-screen, which also renders the Start Screen useless. MS killed of gadgets over a lame excuse (yes security - but why fix it when you can kill it). Touch screen desktops are not efficient. Ask anyone who has a touch-screen AIO and how much they use it. Most, if not all go back to the normal M&K after a while.

    You can't customize or rename things on the Start Screen. Imagine the fun of trying to fix a metro issue, but since the solution is on a full screen or desktop - it makes it hard to see, no?

    The task switcher / app management. Like pressing the red X button was so hard? Metro task-manager doesn't show desktop programs (exactly) and the Taskbar doesn't show metro Apps.

    MS promotes their new Win8 Keyboard with Win8 shortcuts (I thought this was supposed to be an easy touch UI?) So to use it, its a touch, keyboard and mouse UI all at the same time? The charms suck... they pop out when not needed, and sometimes don't when you don't need it or some program does it for you.

    When you LOG into your Win8 PC, you are pretty much logging in to Microsoft. Most of those Metro Apps requires you to be logged in.

    Metro photos / videos / Music players shovel their wares more than your own stuff. These players are very sub-standard to Android, iOS.

    I have Windows8 on a computer... its blows. yes, it installed quickly without problems. Its a bit slick and Metro has its cool "Thats new / neat" moments.

    But at the end of the day, MS has bolted on a mobile-device UI onto a desktop OS. Remember UT3? A modern game from 2008 - it bombed. The Menu UI was console and sucked. The crappy maps didn't help.

    Keep this in mind. Since Apple OS X has been on the market (2001) it hasn't really changed... its skin has been updated bit by bit over the years, but it works the same today as it did then. Windows has changed 4 times. (98 > XP > Vista/W7 > W8). Apple doesn't need to overhaul the UI.

    Lets look at Canon digital Cameras. I've bought and recommend these. The UI has NOT changed sine 2000 when I bought my first camera. The skin has improved/modernized - but menu is the same. From the $90 model to the $500 one. Nikon, Sony, Kodak, etc have changed theirs quite a bit. They could have 7 models at a store right now, and you'd have 2-3 different GUIs. Canon designed it easy and logical the first time and hasn't changed since.

    I give Microsoft points for trying to advance the GUI... by all means, I'm for improvements. I would love to have something better than the Start Menu. But you know what? The Start Menu is pretty much the same as a normal status bar of Mac / Linux / Amiga. Its just they stuck all the menus into a button - mostly to keep Apple off their ass.

    I do expect that how we use computers 10~15+ years from now will be different... I hope so. But it has to be done right. Windows8 is not it.

    PS: I'm also for MS killing Windows all together, no more legacy code some day. And who knows what the future will be? Something like Metro / iOS / Android is all MOST people need to interact with a computer. As long as you can run some apps, games and a browser - you have everything you need.
  • eddman - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    I'm sick and tired of reading these useless comments. If you don't have anything to say then shut it and keep it to yourselves. I don't particularly like win 8 either, but it doesn't mean I should troll on every single win 8 related article. You disgust me.

    Windows 8 might seem odd on a non-touch computer, but it's perfect for a tablet. I'll probably keep using 7 on my desktop for a while, but really looking forward to buy a win 8 tablet, specially MS' surface.
  • damianrobertjones - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Well said
  • HisDivineOrder - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Soon? Please? Hopefully? MS OS releases lately are like Star Trek movies. Staggered releases of greatness refined from crapness.
  • jardows2 - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    I'm looking forward to the Windows 8 and Metro UI. Unfortunately the preview release crashed on startup, and I was never able to try it out. Metro reminds me a touch of Windows 3.1 interface, which I have always felt was superior for usability than the Win9x interface. For $40, I can certainly try an upgrade from XP pro!
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    You're joking?

    Windows3 wasn't even an operating System. It was always garbage, a joke. 8.3 file names? PS: for fun, I tried to install Win98 on a new i5-3570 computer... no luck. :)

    Win8 RP 8440 worked smooth for me. Still can't stand it, thou.
  • Exodite - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    To be fair the current version of windows is still stuck with ridiculous and counter-intuitive 8.3 file names.

    Sure, it /could/ use longer and more intuitive file names and have been able to for some time. That doesn't really matter much when it doesn't take advantage of the fact though.
  • Moizy - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Most of the complaints I hear revolve around the look of the interface, and the loss of the start button. When MS released Office 2007, the forums burned about the ribbon, and the loss of the text-based menu bar. Recently I had to do some work on an older machine with Excel 03, and it was terrible. The new interface is much better, and those complaints didn't even address the significant performance and capability improvements that version of Office brought to the table.

    This scenario seems familiar, a lot of complaints about look and change, ignoring performance and usage advancements. Remember, Vista was hated because it caused issues and was a resource hog. That comparison doesn't work because this OS seems to work fine, and very efficiently at that, all while unifying the kernel for tablets, PCs, and phones, a significant advantage. It just looks different and changes the usage paradigm, so let's get out the pitchforks and descend on Redmond! Geez
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Office 95~2003 looks pretty much the same. Why they did the ribbon makes sense. With Office 2010 and patches, you can collapse the ribbon. They also cleaned it up and made it better. I still use office 2003 because it does everything I need... but for $125 or so, Office 2010 Home edition is an excellent deal.

    Vista has a lot of bugs... didn't shut down, wouldn't wake up, graphic drivers, memory flaws. Win7 fixed most of those, Win8 improves on top of that. Then they bolted metro and made it ugly.

    What MS is trying to do, makes sense... there are advantages. I don't see it working in the real world.

    Office Ribbon was design to get people to do more and make it easy. Metro doesn't do anything. They HID the start button (its still there), so now you have a START Screen that does pretty much everything the Start menu did.

    Read my above comment about MacOS-X / Canon.

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