Do devs and IT pros get Windows 8.1 early? Not even Microsoft knows
Conflicting statements by company reps cause confusion, and Microsoft won't clarify
Computerworld - Microsoft today refused to clarify conflicting statements by its public relations representatives about whether developers and enterprise customers will obtain the Windows 8.1 update weeks before the public, as is customary.
On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Windows 8.1 will be available starting Oct. 17 to current users of Windows 8. The update will be posted to the Windows Store, the official Windows 8 and Windows RT app market, and available as a free download.
Historically, subscribers to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and TechNet -- services for developers and IT workers, respectively -- and enterprise customers who have volume license agreements have been given access to new editions and interim updates weeks and sometimes months before the masses.
MSDN and TechNet subscribers -- some who pay thousands annually for the right to evaluate Microsoft software -- use just-finished code such as Windows 8.1 to test new and existing application compatibility, and decide whether they will support the new Microsoft software with their apps and on their corporate networks.
But Microsoft has given conflicting answers to questions posed by reporters in the U.S. and the Netherlands, who have asked whether developers, IT professionals and volume license customers will have early access, or have been lumped with consumers, who must wait until Oct. 17.
On Wednesday, a U.S.-based Microsoft spokeswoman declined to comment when asked by Computerworld if MSDN and TechNet subscribers would have access to Windows 8.1 between RTM (release to manufacturing), which is set for late this month, and the GA, or "general availability" date of Oct. 17.
The spokeswoman did leave the door open. "We will have more to share in the coming weeks," she said in an email.
A Microsoft spokeswoman in the Netherlands, however, gave a different answer to the same question.
Late Wednesday, Jasper Bakker of Webwereld, like Computerworld owned by IDG, asked a Microsoft Netherlands spokeswoman to clarify the situation for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, and volume customers.
In an email to Bakker, the spokeswoman said, "The availability of Windows 8.1 will take place through the store worldwide at the same moment globally. Volume Licensing (enterprise), TechNet and MSDN will all be available starting at 12:00 [a.m.] New Zealand time on October 18 (October 17 4:00 a.m. PDT). So not later than GA but simultaneously with GA."
Bakker, who translated the Microsoft Netherlands email from its original Dutch to English for Computerworld, reported earlier today that Microsoft would not make Windows 8.1 available early to MSDN, TechNet and volume customers.
When Computerworld today asked a Microsoft spokeswoman in the U.S. to square the circle, she replied, "We are not confirming either way at this time."
If Microsoft followed the same timetable as it did in 2012 with Windows 8, it would offer Windows 8.1 to MSDN and TechNet subscribers two weeks after the latter is tagged with the RTM label.
In 2012, Microsoft announced Windows 8 RTM on Aug. 1 and published the operating system on the subscription services on Aug. 15. The company also began offering a 90-day trial of Windows 8 Enterprise that same day.
Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, has criticized Microsoft's decision, if in fact the company has decided. "That would be a mistake," said Miller in a Tuesday interview. "They have to get it out there as soon as possible."
Microsoft has been blasted for the lack of high-quality, in-demand apps on its Windows 8 and Windows RT app store, the sole distribution channel for touch-enabled apps designed for the new tile-based "Modern," née "Metro" user interface. Miller's point was that Windows 8 app developers should get an early look at the Windows 8.1 final code so they can test their apps against the update and start work on revisions -- and new apps -- that take advantage of the update's features and functionality.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is email@example.com.
- Perspective: Microsoft risks security reputation ruin by retiring XP
- Microsoft plans to patch critical under-attack IE bug next week
- Microsoft reaches RTM milestone for Windows 8.1 update
- OS upgrades: Cheap is better than pricey, free is better than cheap
- No special treatment for China on XP, patches end April 8 in the PRC, too
- Microsoft ships Office 2013 SP1 the old-fashioned way
- Microsoft's 'go-low' play puts Windows revenue on the line
- Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Windows 7 lives!
- Users mock Microsoft for asking their help on XP-to-Windows 8.1 upgrades
- Microsoft concedes Windows 8.1 needs more for mouse, keyboard customers
Read more about Windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Building a Bridge to the Next Generation Data Center Selecting a widely adopted operating system is a foundational component of a standardization strategy.
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Windows White Papers | Webcasts