Windows 8, Microsoft's new version of Windows for PCs and tablets, will be available to developers and IT on Aug. 15. It will be available to the general public on new PCs or separately on Oct. 26.
Microsoft announced Wednesday that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing. The code has been delivered to OEM partners for building Windows 8 hardware. Windows 8 and hardware running it will be available Friday, Oct. 26.
Starting Aug. 15 Windows 8 will be available through MSDN and TechNet subscriptions. On Aug. 16, customers with existing Software Assurance licenses will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise Edition to begin the testing and roll out of the OS in their organizations. Microsoft Partners will receive it Aug. 20. Non-Software Assurance customers will be able to buy it Sept. 1 from volume license resellers.
In a blog entry on the release, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky emphasized the readiness of the release: "The previews of Windows 8 (Developer, Consumer, Release) have been the most widely and deeply used test releases of any product we have ever done. Over 16 million PCs actively participated in these programs, including approximately 7 million on the Release Preview that started 8 weeks ago. The depth and breadth of testing validate the readiness of Windows 8 for the market."
The company also announced that the Windows Store is open for app submissions from developers. The developer agreement has been modified with more favorable terms: The fee to the store is 30% of revenue, but this fee drops to 20% for apps that achieve $25,000 of revenue and remains there for the lifetime of the app.
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