Microsoft launched the public preview versions of Windows 8.1 in late June, but as far as a launch date for the final version is concerned, all Microsoft has said officially is that it will release the final build to OEMs sometime in late August. Now a new report claims that Microsoft is very close to finishing the Windows 8.1 RTM version.
How close? As part of this week's episode of the Weekly Windows video podcast on Twit.tv, ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says that her sources inside Microsoft have told her that Windows 8.1 has now reached the escrow testing period and that the final "gone gold" announcement could be made by the company "any day."
Of course, the actual announcement date and the date when the RTM version might become available to the outside world will likely be very different. Ed Bott, also of ZDNet, predicted as part of the same podcast that it will become available to MSDN subscribers sometime next week. Bott thinks a customer preview of Windows 8.1 might be released a couple of weeks after that, but PC makers may not launch new products with Windows 8.1 inside until late October, or around the one-year anniversary of the Windows 8 launch.
Bott and Foley speculate in the podcast that Microsoft might even decide to have a big launch event for Windows 8.1, as they did in New York City for Windows 8, especially if the company also launches new versions of its Surface tablets at the same time.
Source: Windows Weekly on Twit.tv