Microsoft changes its mind.
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.