Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 to RTM by August

Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 to RTM by August

Summary: Microsoft is on track to deliver Windows 8.1 by August 2013 to its PC/device partners, officials confirmed during the company's partner conference.


Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 to RTM by August


Microsoft will deliver Windows 8.1, codenamed "Blue" to OEMs in late August 2013, company officials said on July 8.

So it looks like Windows 8.1 is going to be released to manufacturing by August, after all, as tipsters have been saying since the Blue codename first leaked almost a year ago.

Microsoft delivered a public preview of Windows 8.1 on June 26 during its Build conference. There are no more preview/test builds scheduled. The next stop is RTM.

Microsoft will make Windows 8.1 available to all Windows 8 and Windows RT users as a free upgrade through the Windows Store.

While I've heard some Microsoft watchers predicting that RTM and general availability of the Windows 8.1 bits won't happen simultaneously, this is not what I have heard from my sources. While new devices preloaded with the Windows 8.1 bits will probably not be out until late September/early October, I have heard that the general availability of the Windows 8.1 bits won't be held back this time around. I think users will be able to get the 8.1 bits simultaneously or very shortly after RTM.

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft is moving to a more rapid delivery schedule with its Windows releases. Instead of delivering a "big bang" release every two to three years, the Softies are now endeavoring to roll out a new Windows release on an annual basis, from what I've heard from my contacts.

Many of the testers I've heard from have noted that the preview build of Windows 8.1 is quite buggy. Yes, it's a test build. But the number of bugs had led some of us to wonder whether Microsoft might end up going later than August with RTM. It seems that isn't going to be the case. I guess that means we should expect Microsoft to roll out lots of fixes and updates for 8.1 on a monthly or more frequent basis, as it has been doing with Windows 8 since that product launched in October 2012.

Microsoft officials didn't offer an updated number of Windows 8 licenses sold during the partner conference keynote. Last we heard, in early May of this year, Microsoft has sold more 100 million Windows 8 licenses to date. 

During the partner show keynote, Microsoft officials demonstrated a new potential use of the Miracast support that will be built into Windows 8.1. Officials showed off the ability to use digital ink on a Surface Pro and to share handwritten notes across Windows 8.1, Windows Phone and the TV/Xbox -- using a Miracast-enabled Surface Pro as a digital white board, in effect. 


Topics: Windows 8, Microsoft, Tablets, PCs, 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
  • Yes, it is buggy

    I don't know why so many naïve users continue to replace their production installs with Windows 8.1 Preview.
    • Cannot be stressed enough

      My 8.0 Surface RT was extremely stable, with 8.1, not so much. No reboots or OS crashes but applications like IE are not as stable.
      • I expect they'll get it together by August

        With an accelerated release schedule, we won't see the polish we're used to until the release itself... Everything is compressed when you're doing tight releases, and you have to get tests into peoples' hands sooner and with less polish.
        • With the emergency update release tempo

          I am expecting a Brood II cicada type bug festival.
    • Re: Yes, it is buggy

      I'm a little bit disappointed because the Windows 8 Release Preview, released in about the same time frame to RTM, had a better quality compared to this one.
      • That release had three years

        This one's had less time, so I think we can be forgiving at this point.
        • Okay, but...

          ...there are also a lot less changes between 8.1 and 7 and 8. It's not going like from 1.0 to 2.0 with this release, it's just 1.0 to 1.1.
    • Naive users? Probably not many. Besides, Microsoft will learn more ...

      ... from those of us who experiment since we are usually at the "bleeding edge" of such things!
      M Wagner
      • I deliberately installed in my home environment...

        to see how it would work in the real world. The major issue I had was that the PC could no longer see any WiFi Networks. The solution was simple, just reinstall the device drivers. I was a little concerned that their new "Start Button" would either interfere or replace Start8, but I found that Start8 still had precedence.
        Thomas Kolakowski
        • Is Windows 8 just a ploy to sell Start8?

          Was the publisher a retired Microsoft exec or something? All the astroturf I see about start8 leads me to believe they could not possibly have this big a marketing budget.
          • Nothing new here

            People were talking about this or a similar program when 7 came out, because all of the people couldn't believe that MS was dropping the [i]classic[/i] start menu. I think the biggest shock for me was that people still used the windows 9x start menu.
          • Huh?

            Microsoft doesn't own Stardock [makers of start8].
            Even then, Classic Shell is free and probably better.
    • My Surface RT...

      has a few bugs after updating, but the performance and usability gains are well worth the occasional app crash. Prior to the update, app launching was brutally slow and apps crashed anyways on occasion.
    • Yes, it is buggy

      I don't know why so many naïve users continue to replace their production installs with Windows 8.0. (There, corrected it for you)
      • Yes, it is buggy

        I don't know why so many naïve users continue to replace their production installs with Windows. (There, corrected it for you)
    • Some love to be beta testers

      I don't understand it myself -- beta testing can be a frustrating experience, yet there seems to be limitless volunteers. Long ago I decided that even free product was not adequate compensation for the aggrivation and work involved -- in recent years I only beta test if i'm being paid to do so, or as a favor if asked by the developer (thankfully, those requests stopped about 5 years ago).
      • It's OK, if

        you keep your data separate from OS/programs AND take an image of your production install before you do it. However, i definitely wouldn't do it without an image. Probably makes even more sense to just run it in a VM.
      • Yeah

        Yeah, I could see installing this on a VM for curiosity's sake, but no way it goes on a machine I actually use. A buddy at work keeps trying to get me to install the preview on my Surface RT. LOL, thanks but no thanks, I like having a machine I can depend on!
      • Input Priority

        Often you can't provide input to developers. If you're on a beta program then you can actually provide feedback and it actually gets looked at. I view beta programs as my opportunity to actually speak directly with developers and help point development in a direction that most helps my use cases.

        Also sometimes even a buggy product that offers huge improvements is better than a stable product that just can't do something. For instance I would be perfectly happy with a beta product right now that ran RED RAW footage on the SurfaceRT. Even if it crashed every 15 minutes it would be better than the status quo of nothing.
        Gavin Greenwalt
    • Surface pro

      I installed Preview on the 26th-ish - I have yet to have an issue. I think the whole "Start button" thing is stupid because I do not see any changes.