Microsoft declares Windows 8.1 ready for OEMs even though work's not finished
Developers, IT pros won't get the update early, as they have historically
Computerworld - Microsoft today declared Windows 8.1 ready for computer and tablet makers, saying the update had reached its RTM, or "release to manufacturing" milestone.
Seven weeks ago, Microsoft executive Tami Reller, then the chief financial officer of the Windows division but now its head of marketing, promised that Windows 8.1 would go out to OEMs, computer- and tablet-making partners, in late August.
Microsoft already revealed the public release date for Windows 8.1 as Oct. 17 in the U.S., when current Windows 8 users will be able to download and install the operating system's second version. Windows 8.1-powered devices, and the update itself, will hit retail stores on Oct. 18.
Unlike previous editions of Windows, which have made do with bug collection updates called "service packs," Microsoft has added numerous new features and functions to Windows with 8.1, some devoted to making the OS more palatable on conventional desktop and notebook PCs, and many aimed at businesses, which have largely ignored Windows 8.
RTM is largely meaningless to end users; it simply marks the date when OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) receive the code and can begin testing it on new devices. The fact that it met its deadline, however, signals that new devices powered by Windows 8.1 will be available by the time the holiday selling season starts to warm up.
In fact, RTM no longer represents finished code, at least by Microsoft's standards.
"While our partners are preparing these exciting new devices we will continue to work closely with them as we put the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience at general availability on October 18," said Antoine Leblond, a Microsoft spokesman, in a blog.
Microsoft also cleared up the mystery whether developers and IT professionals would have early access to Windows 8.1, or must wait until October like everyone else. Previously, the company refused to say one way or the other.
"In the past, the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use," Leblond said. "However, it's clear that times have changed."
MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and TechNet subscribers will not, as they have historically, have access to Windows 8.1 several weeks before the general public, Microsoft ruled. TechNet is a service aimed at IT professionals, while MSDN courts developers.
The early availability of finished code to developers and enterprise IT personnel allowed those groups to get an early jump on final testing of their applications and more time to evaluate the OS before deciding whether to bring it into their companies.
The possibility that MSDN subscribers would not get their hands on Windows 8.1 early raised hackles when reports first claimed developers would have to wait. Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, had said Microsoft was wrong not to support developers in every way possible, given the importance of their apps to the success of Windows 8.1. "That would be a mistake," said Miller in a interview two weeks ago. "They have to get it out there as soon as possible."
- 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
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- 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...
- Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready? Read "Is Your Big Data Solution Production-Ready?" now, and discover best practices and actionable steps to implementing a production-ready big data solution.
- Pay-as-you-Grow Data Protection: IBM Tivoli's Full-featured Data Protection Suite for Small to Medium Businesses IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Suite for Unified Recovery gives small and medium businesses the opportunity to start out with only the individual solutions...
- Streamline Data Protection with IBM Tivoli Storage Manager Operations Center IBM Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) has been an industry-standard data protection solution for two decades. But, where most competitors focus exclusively on Backup...
- 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