Windows 8.1 hits release to manufacturing (RTM) status

Microsoft fans will be pleased to learn that the company has reportedly released the latest Windows 8.1 aka Windows Blue OS to manufacturing.

However, it is not yet known whether developers or users will get to test the OS before Oct. 18, the official launch date of the platform. Microsoft had previously revealed that the release to manufacturing (RTM) for Windows 8.1 will be by end August and reports suggest that the Redmond giant has kept its promise.

The latest information is courtesy of Windows SuperSite's editor Paul Thurrott, who disclosed via a tweet on Friday, Aug. 25, that the final build number for Windows 8.1 is 9600.16384.130821-1623. Thurrott's original tweet was unclear so he posted a reply on Twitter to clarify that he was referring to the RTM.

The announcement created quite a stir and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley's multiple sources have confirmed that Windows 8.1 indeed hit the RTM status on Aug. 23. What's more, per her sources, an official email was doing internal rounds at Microsoft to break the news.

"I talked to another contact of mine who said the internal RTM e-mail made the rounds inside the Windows division on August 23. A third source close to the company confirmed Microsoft RTM'd Windows 8.1 on August 23, and announced internally that the quality metrics for Windows 8.1 were back in line with those of Windows 7," reveals Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.

The website contacted a Microsoft spokesperson to validate if Windows 8.1 had hit RTM on Aug. 23, but "was told the company had no comment."

While Microsoft has not confirmed the RTM status for Windows 8.1, the timeframe falls in line with the company's declaration to have the OS ready for an end August release to manufacturers.

However, consumers will have to wait a bit longer to try out the new software, until the official Oct. 18 debut (unless you're happy tinkering with the preview).

At this juncture, it is unclear if the new OS will become available to select groups such as Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet prior to the Oct.18 introduction.

In the past, both TechNet and MSDN members have got early access to Microsoft's updates and, therefore, a strong possibility exists that they could test the final builds of the updates ahead of its official release. In the event that Microsoft offers early access to the members, it would likely be around Sept. 7 (a month and half before public availability), which is generally the timeline Microsoft uses for subscriber availability post RTM announcements.

In the meantime, you can check out the free Windows 8.1 preview, which is available for download at the Windows site for free.

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