Microsoft has officially released Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 to manufacturers.
The company said that it had delivered the first versions of the operating system to its OEM partners, marking the final step before the general availability. The advance release will allow hardware vendors to build and bundle new PCs based on the new platform.
"This means we’ve completed the product development and testing of the product and have started handing off the final code to our OEM partners," Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog post announcing the release.
"They can now begin preparing new Windows 8 PCs and devices they’ll introduce starting with General Availability."
Microsoft has set 26 October as the retail release date for the operating system.
The release marks the first major update to the Windows platform since the 2009 unveiling of Windows 7. The release will also be the first from Microsoft to target the tablet market, including the ARM processor-ready Windows RT build.
The company has also released Windows Server 2012 to vendors. That update is slated for a much earlier release, with general availability set for 1 September.
Analysts have suggested that the downtime between the release to manufacturer and general availability releases serve as a strategic period for administrators and executives.
Pundits have said that firms would be wise to spend the time reassessing their IT roadmaps and seeking out the best possible licensing and support contracts particularly with server deployments.
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