In addition, Windows RT (the ARM-specific version of Windows 8 for tablets with ARM CPUs) has reached RTM, as has Windows Server 2012. When Windows 8 begins shipping on Oct. 26, Microsoft will also begin shipping hardware, too: Windows RT-based Surface tablets.
Oct. 26 is a long way off, but between now and then, the following milestones will be met:
- 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.
Of course, that UI-change has drawn criticism, too. It remains to be seen if consumers will embrace it.
Microsoft is aggressively pricing upgrades, too, at $39.99, or $14.99 for those who are eligible for Microsoft's Windows 8 Upgrade Offer. Mark Oct. 26 on your calendar.