Microsoft Offers Developers Early Access to Windows 8.1 RTM

In late August, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 8.1 had hit RTM. Redmond also surprised developers with the announcement that it would be withholding the golden RTM bits until the actual October 18 release date. Prior to Windows 8.1, Microsoft typically released the bits early to MSDN, TechNet and its volume-license customers. However, it seems Microsoft has changed its mind on the issue.

In a blog post published yesterday, Microsoft said that it would be making its current Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro, and Windows Server 2012 RT RTM builds available to developers and IT professionals. This will happen via MSDN and TechNet. Additionally, Microsoft says the current Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM build will be available for businesses later this month, and the Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate is already available for download.

"We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they're readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments," Microsoft's Steve 'Guggs' Guggenheimer said in a blog post. "We've listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback. As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem."

The only version left out of this week's about face is Windows 8.1 RT, but determined developers will be able to find that online through ... other channels.

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  • knightmike
    There are no words for how I feel right now. Is this some sort of publicity / loyalty stunt? Some sort of psychological experiment?

    Inside Microsoft: Let's make an announcement that we're cutting off developers. Of course this will cause negative feedback. Then, we'll pretend like we've taken the feedback into consideration and decide to re-include developers. This will paint us as a company that makes decisions based on customer feedback. You know what, let's do this with the Xbox One as well.

    Mindless sheep: You know what? I like Microsoft. They listen to me. They value my feedback. They've earned a customer for life.
  • alextheblue
    You're right, knightmike! They shouldn't listen to feedback at all. How dare they reverse a bad decision!

    You should probably nerdrage about it in the comment section. Oh wait...
  • knightmike
    I think you missed the point I was trying to make. They didn't listen to feedback. They pretended to listen to feedback. They knew what the feedback was going to be. They didn't need a crystal ball for that. They made a bad decision on purpose so that they could later reverse it after "listening" to feedback.

    I'll go ahead and list you under "Mindless Sheep".