Microsoft has officially confirmed that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing and as expected, the final build number is 9200. The company has also outlined when the OS will be available on its numerous developer channels which you can see in the list below.
- 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 organizations 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 Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- 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.
With the code being officially signed off, developers now have a solid, locked platform to test and evaluate their software before the OS launches to the general public on October 26th. As given by the list above, Microsoft will be pushing out Windows 8 to the majority of its developer and partner networks very shortly.
This is a significant milestone for Microsoft as the company has now locked down the code and can shift resources to gear up for the public launch later this year. Windows 8 is a dramatic departure from the past for Microsoft as it built a hybrid OS that works across many different form factors.
Additionally, the RTM announcement means that the Windows Store is now open to accept submissions for paid applications. Given the ample amount of time until launch, we should see the store fill out nicely before launch and offer consumers a wide range of options to fill out their start screens on launch day.
As a reminder, you can get Windows 8 starting on October 26th either by upgrading for $39.99 or with the purchase of a new PC. If you buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, you will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.