…and NO ONE will see the final code until GA in October 2013.
Microsoft confirmed today that it has released Windows 8.1 to manufacturing. This important milestone indicates that development and testing have completed and the final version is ready to burn to physical discs or ISO images to be distributed to OEM partners as well as MSDN and TechNet subscribers. However, it’s also been confirmed that MS will not make the bits physically accessible to anyone other than hardware partners, like Dell, HP and others, until 2013-10-18.
According to my buddy, Ed Bott, the reason(s) for the delay are pretty simple
- Hardware makers need time to tweak and refine drivers so they work out of the box
- Microsoft needs to refine its Mail, People and Calendar apps
- Third party developers – like Facebook – need time to finish their Windows 8.x apps
- Microsoft will also fix bugs via Windows Update, and lock it down
Barring any weird issues that prevent the 2013-10-18 GA release (General Availability) from occurring, the pubic accessibility of Windows 8.1 on that date will be about 1 year after the GA release of Windows 8. This also fulfills Microsoft’s promise for rapid updates of their OS: 1 year instead of 3-4. It looks like the day of the Service Pack is gone. It’s also in line with what Apple has been doing for the past few years with OS X – a major release a year.
Microsoft hasn’t said when MSDN and TechNet subscribers will get access to the final version of the new OS. However, based on Microsoft’s apparent desire to keep this under wraps until the GA release in October 2013, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if MSDN and TechNet subscribers didn’t get the software until the end of September, or the beginning of October.
I will have more information as it becomes available, as well as a full delta review here on Soft32 (the differences between the Consumer Preview and the GA release) once I get access to the software.