Feeds

Microsoft to ship Windows 8.1 in 'late August'

Tried the preview? You only have a few weeks left

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

WPC 2013 The Windows 8.1 Preview is barely two weeks old, but Microsoft's Windows boss Tami Reller says the final version of the update will be ready to ship to manufacturers in just a few more weeks' time.

Speaking at Redmond's annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas on Monday, Reller announced that the RTM version of Windows 8.1 would be made available to Microsoft's OEM partners in "late August."

That release schedule should give OEMs plenty of opportunity to ready devices to ship with Windows 8.1 preinstalled in time for the holidays, Reller said.

Microsoft made the Windows 8.1 Preview available as a free download during its annual Build conference, which took place from June 26 to 28 in San Francisco. If the final version ships in August, the update will be no more than nine weeks old by the time it's released to manufacturing.

That's from the general public's perspective, at any rate. We've been hearing rumors of Windows "Blue" – Windows 8.1's old codename – since February, and Microsoft has likely been working on it for much longer.

Still, the short preview period is a bit unusual. Windows 8 itself spent two months as a Release Preview before Microsoft released it to manufacturing, but there was a Consumer Preview three months before that, and developers had hands-on access to the OS for more than a year before the final version shipped.

Obviously, Windows 8.1 isn't as dramatic an upgrade as the leap from Windows 7 to Windows 8. It's significant enough to warrant a version-number hike, however, and businesses will presumably want time to test out its new enterprise features.

But the compressed schedule is in keeping with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's new "rapid release" mantra. At Build, Ballmer told customers that short upgrade cycles will be "the new norm" for Redmond, and some analysts believe we should expect a new upgrade on the level of Windows 8.1 every year from now on.

Reller also used her WPC keynote to talk up Windows 8's sales figures, which so far haven't impressed OEMs and resellers. She reiterated Microsoft's claim that it has sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses, and added that it now has more than 20 million "enterprise evaluations." What's more, she said, customers have now used Windows 8 for more than 60 billion hours.

To keep that momentum going, Reller said Microsoft is launching new programs aimed at getting developers and resellers on board with Windows 8, including a "User Experience Design Competency" training program for designers, plus a program called TouchWins that offers distributors and resellers incentives to carry Windows 8 PCs and tablets with touchscreens.

Microsoft's 2013 WPC conference continues in Houston, Texas through July 11. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.