After holding Windows 8.1 back from developers, Microsoft relented and made Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro RTM available to IT professionals and application developers through the TechNet and MSDN network this week.
The company changed its mind based on feedback from the IT community and will make available Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro and even Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM builds to the developer and IT pro community, said Steven Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s corporate vice president and chief evangelist, in a blog post.
“We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they’re readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments…As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem,” he wrote.
Microsoft’s Windows RTMs are typically available to developers, but the Windows 8.1 RTM was only made available to PC manufacturers a few weeks ago.
What was Microsoft thinking? If you want enterprises to deploy Windows 8, you need the IT community to test the latest version of the operating system in their own environment. If you want Windows 8.1 bug-free apps available in the Microsoft Store when the operating system hits, developers need the latest RTMs. It’s really not rocket science.
Giving IT pros and app developers the Windows 8.1 RTMs is not just about creating bug-free apps. New Windows 8-based mobile devices will become available throughout the fourth quarter. Do you think those devices are going to sell without apps? We all know Windows 8 mobile devices are just a fraction of the OS and Android-based app ecosystem. Microsoft needs all the help they can get.
Given that enterprises are not deploying Windows 8 in droves, Microsoft really should have considered how their Windows 8.1 RTM release strategy could affect the entire ecosystem. Holding the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro RTM versions from developers clearly wasn’t the right move.