A little more than a year ago, the world first got a close look at Windows reimagined. And since then, my team and I have been meeting with customers all over the world about how Windows 8 is Enterprise ready by design and how it will work for their business.
It’s been an exciting journey to Windows 8, and today we are one step closer to the finish line with Windows 8 being released to manufacturing (RTM).
The RTM milestone of Windows 8 means that the operating system is ready for market and our OEM and ODM partners can finish building and refining their products in preparation for Windows 8 general availability, slated for Friday, October 26, 2012. And while the RTM milestone is important for OEMs and ODMs, it also signals to our customers, partners and developers that they will be getting their hands on Windows 8 Enterprise edition soon.
How soon? The Blogging Windows post today gives a full run down of key dates for Windows 8 availability. For Windows commercial customers, IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through your TechNet subscriptions on Aug. 15. Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing you to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within your organization and Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers on Sept. 1.
One more thing: If you haven’t already, consider adding the MDOP subscription to your agreement to make the most out of Windows for your business. For many of our customers, their future computing strategy includes the need to manage Windows features, restore user productivity, and virtualize applications the operating system and the user experience and MDOP products can help you do this.
So what’s our guidance for customers running on Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 PCs? While evaluating Windows 8, we recommend enterprise customers in the process of deploying Windows 7 continue with these deployments. There is great compatibility between Windows 7 and Windows 8, and this will make it easier for customers to start adopting Windows 8 side-by-side with Windows 7. For customers running Windows XP or Windows Vista, and still early in your deployment process, we recommend you start your Windows 8 deployment planning.
But don’t wait to begin your Windows 8 evaluation, even if you are running Windows 7 today. Start your evaluations now to experience how Windows 8 can change the way people do business. Customers have already started sharing with us how Windows 8 features like new Windows 8 apps, new hardware experiences like tablets, Windows To Go, enhanced security, DirectAccess, and desktop virtualization advancements are bringing about new business opportunities that give their organizations immediate value – from improved mobility and productivity to increased management functionality. And every customer scenario is unique as well, making Windows 8 one of the most personalized operating systems for business customers – and their employees – yet.
Please check back for more information in the coming weeks as we get closer to bringing Windows 8 to your business. And if you haven’t already, check out the Windows 8 Enterprise site to see what your organization can accomplish using Windows.