It was nice to be in the room for a change.
For nearly two years now I have been counting down the #EndOfDaysXP on my Twitter feed (@MGarvis) and encouraging users and corporations to migrate to Windows 7.
Since the Developer Preview for Windows 8 was released in November of last year I have been getting the occasional reply to the tune of ‘Shouldn’t I just wait for Windows 8 at this point?’ and I have been telling these people no, it is time to get off Windows XP. Besides, until there was an actual release date for Windows 8 it was still a long way off.
At the Keynote Event for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, held in Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Tami Reller announced that Windows 8 would be released to manufacturing (RTM) in the first week of August, and that general availability (GA) would be around the end of October. I was way up in the nosebleed seats, but I was there… and it was nice for a change to be able to report the news live rather than the usual retweets and such.
Of course, neither of those are actually dates.
Earlier this week we found out that RTM would actually be Wednesday August 1st. As well Steven Sinofsky announced at Microsoft’s sales meeting that GA will be October 26th… which for those of you keeping track is a Friday.
I wasn’t in the room for that, but it is good to know.
To be clear, GA is the date that you will be able to walk into a store and purchase a copy of Windows 8, or a new computer with that OS pre-installed. If you have a volume license agreement (VLA) with Microsoft – or a TechNet Plus or MSDN subscription – then the RTM bits will be available to you on the RTM date.
Now the question that everyone has been asking: What about Surface?
When Steve Ballmer announced Surface he stated clearly that the RT version would be available when Windows 8 was released (i.e.: General Availability), and that the Pro version would be available within 90 days after that. In other words it looks like the Pro version will miss the Christmas rush, but if you have loved ones who are jonesing for a tablet to compete with the iPad then Santa should be able to put a Surface under their tree for Christmas morning.
Exciting stuff, huh?