Today via their Windows Team Blog, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 has officialy reached the RTM (Release to Manufactures) stage of development. This means that the long tedium of product development and testing has passed, and Microsoft is now shipping the final build (build 9200) to Manufactures and OEMs for installation on new PCs and devices.
General users can expect to get their hands on the final version of Windows 8 starting October 26 either by upgrading for $40 or on a new PC or device. Additionally Microsoft announced customers who buy eligible Windows 7 PCs today, will be able to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $15 through the Windows Upgrade Offer.
While general users are left anxiously awaiting Oct. 26, Microsoft revealed that it?s providing a number of early access programs for certain subsets to help prepare for Windows 8 as it enters the market place this fall. Among those eligible for are early access are Developers and IT professionals both of which will be eligible to receive the final version of Windows as early as August 15.
With Windows 8 finally complete, Microsoft has turned its attention to bring other parts of its ecosystem online. Once developers receive their RTM builds of Windows 8 they'll be able to submit paid apps into the marketplace for the Windows Store. That being said, Stephen Sinofsky was quick to state that "no software project is ever really 'done'." Thus, we can expect Microsoft to remain observant monitoring feedback from both its users and numerous hardware partners.
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