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Windows 8.1 Reportedly Released to Manufacturers

According to insider sources, Microsoft's Windows 8 upgrade, scheduled for release on Oct. 17, has hit the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) milestone.

While Microsoft has not confirmed the news, the information comes from a Friday tweet from Windows SuperSite editor Paul Thurrott, who said the final build number is 9600.16384.130821-1623.

The date fits Microsoft's previously discussed timeline. Tami Reller, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Windows, said during her July World Partner Conference keynote that the final build would be available to manufacturers by the end of August.

Redmond magazine columnist and Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley wrote in a blog post that multiple inside sources have confirmed to her that Windows 8.1 has, in fact, reached RTM status.

"I talked to another contact of mine who said the internal RTM e-mail made the rounds inside the Windows division on August 23," wrote Foley. "A third source close to the company confirmed Microsoft RTM'd Windows 8.1 on August 23, and announced internally that the quality metrics for Windows 8.1 were back in line with those of Windows 7."

When contacted directly by Foley, Microsoft said it had no comment at the time.

Foley speculated that the reason why an official announcement wasn't made on Friday was so that it wouldn't overshadow the announcement of CEO Steve Ballmer's retirement.

With the RTM status of Windows 8.1, PC and other hardware makers can start preloading Windows 8 machines with the OS update for an Oct. 18 release -- a day after current Windows 8 customers will be given access to the upgrade.

Previously, when a Microsoft product hits the RTM status, the ability for IT pros to test the final build through its TechNet program would occur shortly after. However, due to Microsoft ending the program on Aug. 1, there has been no word on if testing of the final build would be available.

In the meantime, Windows 8 users have had access to the Windows 8.1 Preview since late June, available for download through the Windows Store.

There has been no word on if Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2, both scheduled for release on Oct. 18, have also reached the RTM milestone.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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