Today at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft shared some more information on the upcoming availability of Windows 8.
The company confirmed that the next-generation platform would be released to manufacturing in the first week of August, so that its partners would have enough time to get their devices ready for general availability.
Tami Reller, Windows VP, Microsoft, also announced that Windows 8 is targeted for an official launch at the end of October this year.
The announcement comes in line with the previous rumors on the matter, which suggested that Windows 8 might be ready to reach the RTM milestone
in late July, while being commercially released sometime in mid- to late-October.
At the aforementioned conference, Microsoft also announced a series of other info on its Windows platforms, including the fact that it has sold over 630 million Windows 7 licenses.
For those out of the loop, we should mention that the company announced 600 million Windows 7 licenses being sold in early June.
Furthermore, Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer said on stage at the event that the company expects around 375 million Windows PCs to be sold in the next year.
Many of these should run under Windows 8, and a few millions of them are expected to be Surface tablet PCs, Ballmer also said. "Surface is one of the preeminent Windows 8 devices," he also noted at the event.
Previously, Microsoft said that the 630 million Windows 7 users represent a powerful customer base to target with Windows 8, even if many users have been complaining about the Metro UI it brings along.
The Windows 8 OS
was designed with heavy optimizations for use on touch-enabled devices, and is a bit difficult to use with a mouse and keyboard on traditional computers, many users claim.
Microsoft, however, claims that the new platform will prove a real success, especially given the brand new Metro features it will arrive with, such as access to the Windows Store or enhanced social networking capabilities.