Microsoft has kept their promise and build the Windows 8 RTM release which will be the version of the operating system that Windows users later on can buy as a standalone application, as an upgrade for one of their existing version of Windows, or included in a new computer they buy. Hitting the RTM ensures that Windows 8 will be in stores in time as developers and partners can start to test and integrate the operating system in their products.
Microsoft has released a time line that details the dates when developers, IT professionals and partners get access to the RTM release. MSDN and TechNet subscribers are the first to get access to the operating system on August 15. The Windows 8 download will be made available a day later to customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows and Microsoft Partner Network members. Microsoft Action Pack Providers get access to Windows 8 on August 20, while Volume License customers without Software Assurance can purchase the operating system from September 1 on.
End users will have to wait until October 26 before the operating system will be available on various retail channels. Windows 8 upgrades will be available for $39.99 for all computer users who run computers with a valid Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 license. The retail price has not yet been announced by Microsoft, and customers who purchase an eligible Windows 7 PC right now can purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.
Companies from today on can start to register for a Store account to submit their free or paid apps to the market when the RTM release begins to become available to developers. Microsoft notes that the verification process can take a couple of days and that it is recommended to start the registration process as soon as possible.
On a personal note: I'm currently thinking of becoming a TechNet subscriber, which would not only provide me with access to the Windows 8 RTM come August 15, but also with the final version of the operating system and other Microsoft products during the subscription period.
I'm very interested to see how the operating system will fare market share wise. Will it beat the successful Windows 7 in copies sold? What's your take here?
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