Right on schedule, Microsoft has announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing on the first day of the first week of August.

Microsoft has put out a full press release, which we have attached below, but of course the meats of the announcement are dates and prices. Unfortunately Microsoft has yet to announce any prices for OEM/System Builder or Retail copies of Windows 8 beyond the previously announced $40 upgrade promotion, so we’re still left wondering what pricing on the full version will be. We would be surprised if it was much different than Windows 7, but we shall see.

In the meantime what Microsoft lacks in pricing information they more than make up for in dates, having released a complete list of Windows 8 availability dates for all of their major customer groups. The important dates are August 15th for MSDN/TechNet customers, and October 26th (as previously announced) for retail customers and systems pre-loaded with Windows 8. For those of you thinking of testing it as early as possible via TechNet, do keep in mind however that along with TechNet’s use restrictions, the service now also requires that you keep an active TechNet subscription to keep using any software provided through it.

Finally, the build number for Windows 8 is widely rumored to be (and we believe to be accurate) 9200.16384.win8_rtm.120725-1247.

Today, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM) – marking the completion of product development and testing. OEM partners are now armed with final code, and can begin building new Windows 8 PCs and devices to introduce this fall, starting Friday, October 26, at General Availability. 

RTM marks an important milestone for Windows 8, and with that comes notable enhancements, new opportunities and continued capabilities without compromise:

  • Launch of Windows Store commerce platform. RTM delivers the opportunity for developers to publish and offer paid apps. The Windows Store for developers blog details how developers can take advantage of the single biggest platform opportunity available.  
  • Business (not) as usual. Windows 8 can change the way people do business. Features like new Windows 8 apps, new hardware experiences, Windows To Go, enhanced security, DirectAccess, and desktop virtualization advancements bring about new opportunities that give organizations value. The Windows for your Business blog provides details and new guidance for enterprise customers.
  • Partners are “all in.” We are excited to share the final code with companies like Lenovo, Acer, ASUSand Toshibawho have announced new Windows 8 PCs and devices as well as other partners who are working on products that will be available this fall. 

So what’s next, you ask?

  • August 15:
  • Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via MSDN subscriptions.
  • IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16:
  • 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 the opportunity to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organizations.
  • Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8
  • August 20: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) will receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
  • October 26: Windows 8 will be available to consumers either by upgrading or on a new PC. Eligible Windows 7 PCs purchased now qualify for an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

More information about Windows 8 RTM can be found in the B8 blog, Windows for your Business blog and Windows Store for developers blog.

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  • Maximilian - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - link

  • bplewis24 - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - link

  • B3an - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    -1. Fastest and smoothest OS around. Worth it for that and Storage Spaces alone. Win 7 feels like Vista in comparison.
  • Belard - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    -1. works for Microsoft. taking crack and thinks the reality distortion field works on normal humans.
  • B3an - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - link

    Yeah everyone who likes Win 8 works for MS.

    Get a life Belard. Always posting your pointless crap on MS news because you have nothing better to do with your time. Pathetic loser.
  • Belard - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Awww... I'm so hurt. Hmmm, you didn't deny it. Saying that it makes Win7 feel like Vista, that is something nobody has ever said. Win7 worked out of the box, did a lot of neat little UI improvements over XP (Vista did nothing different, the UI looked different but behaved the same as XP)

    Pointless? Funny, quite a lot of people think / say / feel / know that Windows8 is garbage. I've yet to meet a person in real-life that actually liked Windows8. We'll know in a few months how the masses take to it, huh?

    Throwing an insult because I don't like what you like? I thought this was a semi-free country.
  • damianrobertjones - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    it's been shown that quite a few posters haven't even fired up Windows 8 yet have a lot to say
  • heffeque - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Just wanted to say that the final version of Windows 8 Enterprise N is out in the wild.
    There's info about it in MDL.
  • damianrobertjones - Monday, August 6, 2012 - link

    I've managed to grab the version with WMP :) It's fast!
  • crispbp04 - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    You come across like a freaking moron. Talking about "reality distortion fields" and "taking crack". I'm not sure what the term taking crack means, I'm assuming that you mean smoking crack?

    In regards to your criticism, what are your qualifications exactly? Are you a developer? Business analyst? My guess is a talentless geek squad quality IT guy. Maybe an apple "genius" since everyone in "real life" that you've met have an opinion on an operating system that hasn't even launched yet. Let's hear it.

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