Ready or not here it comes. 

As expected Microsoft’s Windows 8, the next version of its flagship operating system, is on its way to PC OEM’s as the software giant has finalized development of the OS.

In posts on the Blogging Windows blog and the Building Windows 8 blog, Brandon LeBlanc and Steven Sinofsky, explain what this step means and when the OS will be available to members of the public.

In the blog post by Steven Sinofsky he shares some stats about the testing process of Windows 8 through all its various preview releases.

We continue to be sincerely humbled by the breadth of participation in our pre-release testing. The previews of Windows 8 (Developer, Consumer, Release) have been the most widely and deeply used test releases of any product we have ever done. Over 16 million PCs actively participated in these programs, including approximately 7 million on the Release Preview that started 8 weeks ago. The depth and breadth of testing validate the readiness of Windows 8 for the market.

Impressive indeed and obviously a lot of telemetry back to Microsoft that showed how the OS was being used.  This is also the shortest post I have seen on the Building Windows 8 blog as well so it is very easy reading compared to some of their past posts!

On the Blogging Windows site, Brandon LeBlanc shares the meat and potatoes information relating to when and where various groups will get to put their hands on the final RTM code of Windows 8.

Here is the info he provided about its availability:

  • August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.

Of course, as previously announced, the General Availability of Windows 8 will be on 26 October 2012 and that is when you can download the Windows 8 Pro upgrade for just $40. That upgrade cost applies to anyone running Windows XP or higher as well as anyone running the preview version of Windows 8.

Hard to believe that the first demo of Windows 8 was May 2011 and just 15 months later the OS is at RTM stage!