Rumor has it that Microsoft has already finalized work on Windows 8.1 RTM, so the company is expected to release a public announcement on the new milestone sometime this week.
A report published by ZDNet, on the other hand, claims that Microsoft has actually completed development of the RTM on Friday, but the company delayed a public announcement because of the news on Steve Ballmer’s retirement.
Microsoft feared that Steve Ballmer’s decision to leave would overshadow any Windows 8.1 news, so the company decided to wait a few more days before providing any information on its OS update.
Microsoft’s CEO revealed on Friday that he would retire within the next 12 months when a new successor is found, without providing any specifics on the reasons behind his decision.
“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said.
“We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”
And still, Windows 8.1 RTM is now on its way to OEMs around the world, as they need to install the operating system on a number of devices that should be ready in time for the holiday season.
Microsoft has already announced that 8.1 would be released to users on October 18, while Windows 8 adopters would be allowed to download it freely from the Windows Store one day earlier.
At the same time, the Redmond-based company expects Windows 8.1 to spawn a new wave of devices, including hybrids and tablets.
What’s more, the company is trying to prevent any leaks from going online by delaying the release to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, with sources familiar with the matter hinting that an October release is very likely.