Home Your IT Home IT Mate, we finally get a Windows 8 RTM and GA release date!

Microsoft used its annual Worldwide Partner Conference to spill some more accurate details of exactly when Windows 8 goes RTM – and another date as to when Windows 8 will launch into general availability!

While the world has known for some time that Windows 8 would go RTM or “release to manufacturing” in the second half of 2012, and then to GA or “general availability” sometime in the third quarter, we finally have some more accurate information.

Microsoft has still been cagey as to the exact, specific date, but we still have more accurate time frames than ever before, so we definitely know when to expect Windows 8 to get out the gate, both for those with MSDN, TechNet and Software Assurance access, and those who want to buy a retail copy, or a copy pre-loaded onto a new computer.

The details come forth thanks to Windows Team Blogger Brendan LeBlanc, who quotes Microsoft’s CMO and CFO, Tami Reller, who spoke at Microsoft’s partner conference in the Windows 8 date defining.

So, without further ado, when it is all coming?

Well, Mr LeBlanc says that “the first week of August” is when Windows 8 will go RTM, and is also the date the Windows Store finally goes live, so people can purchase apps – and not just download free ones.

Then we learn that Windows 8 will reach general availability “by the end of October, and while again, Microsoft has given no specific date, this surely means sometime between say Monday the 22nd of October and Wednesday the 31st of October, with that date likely to fluctuate depending on exactly when Microsoft wants to finally open the Windows 8 spigot to all.

We also learn from Mr LeBlanc and Ms Reller than Windows 7 has now sold over 630m licenses, and that “more than half of enterprise desktops today are running Windows 7”.

A keynote video will be available to watch over at the Windows Team Blog here “later today”, and probably also at the Microsoft WPC page.

So, Windows 8 will soon leave the confines of beta and previews, and will soon emerge forth in two versions: Windows RT for ARM-powered tablets, and Windows 8 Pro for Intel and AMD powered computers.

Despite the clear and present ongoing popularity of Windows 7, Windows 8 should quickly prove to be Microsoft’s best and most popular OS yet, with a plethora of hardware designs to truly show Windows 8 is finally with the times, while getting Apple, Google and OEMs to ramp up the innovation to even more incredible new levels.

Meanwhile, despite the new dates for availability, the wait for Windows 8 continues, but we’re definitely on the home stretch now!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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