Following rumors yesterday, Microsoft now officially confirms on its blog that Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 have hit release to manufacturing (RTM) phase. The general consumer availability is planned for October 18th.
We’ve hit an important milestone for Windows and for Microsoft—just 10 months after delivering on a bold, generational change in computing with Windows 8, our team is proud to share that we have started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to our hardware partners. In many ways, this marks a new day at Microsoft, reflecting a number of rapid release firsts. Thanks, in part, to customer feedback and an unparalleled level of collaboration across product teams, Windows 8.1 is a significant update. We have delivered in a very short time an update to the OS that will bring an even greater unified experience for our customers. As we consider the code we just handed off, and the new intuitive and fluid computing experience it provides - anytime, anywhere, across all devices – we’re confident we made the right bet in continuing our vision and following through on our commitment to rapid innovation and responsive engineering.
In the past, the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use. However, it’s clear that times have changed, with shifts to greater mobility and touch as well as the blurring of work and personal lives. As such, we’ve had to evolve the way we develop and the time in which we deliver to meet customers with the experience they need, want and expect. We’ve had to work closer to our hardware partners than ever before. Reaching this milestone is about optimizing the overall experience for our customers. Our hardware partners are in a position to prepare the wide array of innovative devices our customers can expect later this fall - just in time for the holidays. Over the next several months we’ll see beautiful, powerful devices, from the smallest tablets to the most lightweight notebooks to versatile 2-in-1s, as well as industry devices designed for business.