The so-called RTM (Released to Manufacturing) is the version sent to Microsoft’s hardware partners that will ship with new PCs and device.
“People will be able get Windows 8 starting on October 26th either by upgrading for $39.99 or on a new PC or device,” said Microsoft’s Brandon LeBlanc in a post at Blogging Windows.
For those who buy an “eligible” Windows 7 PC today, Microsoft said it will offer an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99. Presumably, eligible PCs are those Microsoft partners participating in the program which may not include some of the lesser known brands.
LeBlanc also noted there are various ways for companies and developers to get their hands on the Windows RTM code now, including:
- August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via their MSDN subscriptions.
- August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through their TechNet subscriptions.
- August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), which allows you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization.
- August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
- August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
- September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers.
As reported earlier, Microsoft already offers a near-complete, pre-release version of Windows 8 as a free download.