Microsoft today officially revealed a more specific shipping schedule for its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system during its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto. Widely expected to arrive ahead of the Holiday shopping season, Windows CFO Tami Reller said Windows 8 will be in the hands of its OEMs during the first week of August, with PCs and tablets running the new operating system on sale at the end of October.
Microsoft will turn on the commerce platform for its Windows app store at the same time the "release to manufacturing," or RTM build of Windows 8 goes live in August. This will allow developers to start making money off their Metro applications. Up until now, apps at the Windows app store have been free.
The company also said that enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits will have full access to Windows 8 as early as August, months before the general consumer public. It’s unclear if subscribers to Microsoft's for-a-fee developer services, including MSDN and TechNet, will get early access as well.
Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide. Launch hardware is expected to include desktops, laptops, tablets and so-called "convertible" machines that combine the latter two. Microsoft’s own Surface tablet falls into that category but the company hasn’t confirmed a launch date yet.
During the announcement Microsoft noted that Windows 7 has been a bestseller for the company, with 630 million copies sold and more than half of desktops in the enterprise using the OS. But they are certainly hoping to get a good chunk of those, as well as home users, to migrate to the latest release with a limited time offer to upgrade from XP, Vista, 7 or even the Windows 8 Release Preview for only $39.99.
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