All of us lowly consumers must wait until October 26 to get our hands on the newest operating system from Microsoft. If you want to get it early, you will either have to work for an OEM or be a developer.
The Windows 8 team announced today that they have hit the first major milestone in pushing Windows 8 to market. The OS has gone gold and is now being shipped to the OEMs that are already building new hardware around the Windows 8 operating system. This puts us in the final stretch that's leading up to the release of Windows 8 in October.
As part of the announcement, Microsoft shared that Windows 8 has been the largest beta that the company has ever hosted. Across all three previews for Windows 8, there have been more than 16 million PCs that have been equipped with the latest OS. Interestingly enough, 7 million of those installations came with the latest Release Preview.
Developers and IT Professionals with Microsoft Developer Network accounts will be able to get Windows 8 early starting August 15. Here's the breakdown:
August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via your MSDN subscriptions.
August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions.
August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
While the final build of Windows 8 has been sent off, Microsoft will be monitoring the Windows 8 experience from the consumer and OEM perspective. Expect there to be some major patches coming out on the day one launch for Windows 8. There will probably be some crazy OS breaking bug, but I wouldn't have it any other way.