It's official: Windows 8 to be generally available in late October

It's official: Windows 8 to be generally available in late October

Summary: Microsoft officials finally confirmed on July 9 that Windows 8 is on track to be released to manufacturing by the first week of August and to be available by late October.


Finally: Microsoft has pinned some real availability dates on Windows 8.


Tami Reller, Corporate Vice President of Windows, told partners attending Microsoft's worldwide partner conference in Toronto that Windows 8 is on track to be released to manufacturing the first week of August, and to be generally available by late October 2012.

Update: This also means that Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing by the first week of August. But the server bits won't be available to customers until September, a July 9 post on the Windows Server blog confirms the RTM date. And as for the "why not until September" question, a company spokesperson said "The products are developed together, but OEM hardware integration and delivery is different across client and server." The spokesperson said for now, officials had nothing further to share.

Reller also said that business users (volume licensees with Software Assurance) will have access to the final Windows 8 bits "as early as the beginning of August." I've asked when TechNet and MSDN users will have access; no word back yet.

Update No. 2: Microsoft officials won't yet say when MSDN/TechNet, BizSpark or DreamSpark users will be able to get their hands on the final bits.

The October general availability date has been rumored for months. A late July RTM date for Windows 8 has been rumored for a while. I still wouldn't be surprised, myself, to see the operating system be declared gold/RTM this month, in keeping with the Windows team's underpromise/overdeliver mantra.

Reller also announced at the partner show that Microsoft has sold 630 million Windows 7 licenses to date, up from 600 million at the beginning of June.

The Windows team's @BuildWindows8 account on Twitter recently repeated that the official guidance here is on May 31, Microsoft execs said to expect Microsoft to enter the "final phases" of the RTM process "in about two months." That's assuming all is seen as progressing well by Microsoft and its partners.

Microsoft officials said in late June that the newly announced Microsoft Surface PC/tablets running Windows RT would be available at the time Windows 8 is generally available. So that means the ARM-based Surfaces will be out by then, one would expect.

Update No. 3 (July 10): Microsoft officials are confirming Visual Studio 2012 also will be released to manufacturing by the first week of August. But they are declining to say when developers will be able to get their hands on the bits. (I asked and a spokesperson said no info on that yet.)

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Technet availability for Win8 RTM

    Any idea when it will post to Technet?
    • My experience is with MSDN

      It's generally on MSDN within a day or three of RTM. Definitely within a week. I'm assuming that TechNet is the same.
  • Can't wait...

    Can't wait to get my hands on Surface...
  • Just in tiem for Halloween

    Will Windows 8 be a trick or a treat?
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • It will be poisoned candy for you.

  • In spite of what they said...

    I really hope they get the Surface out in time for the holiday season.
  • Just in Time for Christmas

    Well, the stockholders will be pleased. Lots of Surfaces under the trees. I'll wait till the hoopla dies down hopefully with the price.
    • By Valentines day

      they'll be dumping them at a loss in the bargain bins at Best Buy.

      (assuming they actually ship by Christmas)
      beau parisi
      • I don't think...

        the average consumer is as dumb as you. I hear other companies are still making products... so you probably don't need to waste your time on products you don't like (ie. trolling MS blogs).
        • Hey, we got time

          "I don't think the average consumer is as dumb as you."

          No, they're actually dumber. Maybe once you climb down from that techno-geek platform of yours and take a look at the real world instead of hiding in the attic all the time, you might learn something.

          "so you probably don't need to waste your time on products you don't like"

          Hey, we got time.

          • Caviar

            Wow do you have an attitude!
          • kstap needs a little bitch slap every once in awhile

            The poor fellow needs to thank me for this.

      • Do you still feel that way........

        with a price of $39 for an upgrade from any Windows OS?
        • Of course thats no incentive at all for going to crap 8

          Why would you waste $39 to upgrade from a good Microsoft os to the one that will probably be the nail in the coffin? I love Microsoft but it seems since Ballmer took over its just bad idea and bad product at every turn. The metro tiles ui and removal of a start button will make a windows 8 a must pass.
  • It's official: Windows 8 to be generally available in late October

    That is great news to hear on a Monday morning. Looking forward to installing several copies of Microsoft Windows 8 when its released.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Lovie are they allowing you

      to update all those old copies of W-3.1 also? I figure you'll find a way if anyone can................
      Over and Out
  • Does this include WP8 also...

    Are they launching the PC, tablets and phones OS's together?
  • I hope there won't be shortages of the Surface RT...

    I've read that they're having some kind of problem manufacturing the VaporMg body of the Surface tablets, and that production has been slow. I hope that's not true, or that they can fix the problem. I'd really like to buy a couple of these as soon as they launch.
    • Please post a link. I've been watching and seen no

      such thing. I'd be very interested to read it and check out it's credibility. Thanks.
      Johnny Vegas
      • zdnet article about surface production problems