Microsoft hit an important milestone for Windows and for Microsoft - just 10 months after delivering on a generational change in computing with Windows 8, the company's team has started releasing Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to its hardware partners.
In the past, the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone traditionally meant that the software was ready for broader customer use. However, it's clear that times have changed, with shifts to greater mobility and touch as well as the blurring of with Microsoft's hardware partners than ever before. Over the next several months we will see powerful devices, from the smallest tablets to the most lightweight notebooks to 2-in-1s, as well as industry devices designed for business.
General availability of Windows 8.1 is set for October 18th. This is the date when Windows 8.1 will be broadly available for commercial customers with or without volume licensing agreements, Microsoft's partner ecosystem, subscribers to MSDN and TechNet, as well as consumers.