Score one for the Russian rumornets: Ed Bott has just reported that Windows 8.1 will go into general availability (GA, open to the general public) release at 12 AM in New Zealand (which Mr. Bott informs us is 4:00 AM in Redmond; that’s PST or -08:00 UCT). I blogged here last week about Russian language site Microsoftportal.net claiming that the OEM release could go out as early as August 16. Given that the date for GA has now been announced, and that it usually precedes GA by two months exactly, they were off by a day or two, at most. Bott confirms the overall timing, and indicates that “…my sources have also told me … that Windows 8.1 has been officially released to manufacturing.”
Today’s Blogging Windows post from Brandon LeBlanc shares the info that on October 17/18, MS will post the Windows 8.1 update for free on the Windows Store.
What’s interesting is that the rumor mill has been grinding thick and fast lately about when the OEM release will be made available via MSDN. I’ve read some sources that claim MS will skip this step and hold off on making the OEM release available until the GA date rolls around. Frankly, I don’t see how or why MS would choose to do this to developers, who need some time to get their applications ready for Windows 8.1 before it ships (or who conceivably might decide to build some new ones to coincide with the GA date). Bott catches my general take on this still-murky situation quite nicely when he says “There’s no indication in today’s consumer announcement of when the Windows 8.1 code will be available for developers on MSDN, nor when the Enterprise edition will be available for general release.” Just because MS isn’t saying anything about this yet doesn’t mean that nothing is going to happen until GA. Let’s hope Ed’s request for additional information produces some results sooner rather than later.