After months of apparently accurate speculation, Microsoft has confirmed that we will see Windows 8 released in October. Specifically, Friday October 26th. This will include both sales of the operating system itself and Windows 8 PCs, rolling out the big release all at once. While this isn’t necessarily shocking news that nobody saw coming, it is nice to have a date to look for.
Speculation has centered around an October release for several months now. Analysts predicted that if Microsoft failed to manage their schedule in such a way as to bring the new OS to the public before November they would likely have an uneventful initial adoption wave regardless of discounts and incentives. Vista was not ready in time for Holiday sales and suffered as a result, though that was hardly its only major failing at the time of release.
Last week Microsoft came out and said that Windows 8 would definitely be ready in time for October and that they would hit the RTM milestone in early August. That RTM timing is slightly later than many predicted, but still falls within the safe period for developers who want to have their newest hardware prepared for launch day.
While Windows 8 has not followed precisely the same schedule as Windows 7, which has several release candidates and a long period of Beta testing, the last Windows iteration made it to customers on October 22nd. Based on that, some were looking at October 25th as the preferred date. Keeping consistently to Thursdays makes sense, I suppose, right? Close enough, given the results.
For those who are currently running Windows XP, Vista, or 7 and who are interested in upgrading, the $39.99 upgrade offer will officially become available on the 26th of October as well. Everybody who takes advantage of that price will be receiving Windows 8 Pro, the more fully featured of the two new Windows options.
Windows RT devices will be released at the same time. We don’t know yet if this will include the ARM-based Microsoft Surface tablet, or even how many ARM tablets will be available to show off the Windows RT release, but this side of things is unlikely to be neglected. This would seem to tie Office 2013 into the October launch as well, since Windows RT is going to ship with that software included. Microsoft could choose to move it up to earlier in the month but nothing later would make sense.