- 18 Hot IT Certifications for 2014
- CIOs Opting for IT Contractors Over Hiring Full-Time Staff
- 12 Best Free iOS 7 Holiday Shopping Apps
- For CMOs Big Data Can Lead to Big Profits
IDG News Service - Microsoft has started sending Windows 8.1 to its hardware manufacturers, hitting the so-called RTM milestone for the much-awaited update to Windows 8.
Both Windows 8.1 for x86 machines and Windows RT 8.1 for ARM-based devices have begun shipping to makers of PCs, tablets and laptops, Microsoft said via a blog Tuesday.
However, commercial and enterprise developers, as well as other IT pros, will have to wait until mid-October to get their hands on the OS update, prompting a chorus of boos from them.
In the past, the RTM release also meant the OS was ready "for broader customer use," but that's changed now, in part because the OS has to work with such a broad variety of devices, wrote Microsoft official Antoine Leblond.
"As such, we've had to evolve the way we develop and the time in which we deliver to meet customers with the experience they need, want and expect. We've had to work closer to our hardware partners than ever before," he wrote.
Via comments to the blog post, response from developers and enterprise IT customers has been swift and almost entirely negative.
"How are we supposed to test our software for Windows 8.1? The day it will be automatically installed on users' machines? So we - software developers - can take blame that applications don't work on Windows 8.1?," wrote one person.
Another one echoed the sentiment: "Most of us actually want to support Windows 8.1, a lot of us want to get apps ready for the awesome 8.1 features, but we can't properly do that unless we get the RTM bits before the public gets the Windows 8.1 update."
Microsoft didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a response to one of the developers commenting on his post, Leblond wrote: "We are continuing to put the finishing touches on Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience at general availability for (all) customers."
By shipping the OS to hardware makers now, Windows 8.1 devices will be ready in time for the year-end holidays, according to Leblond.
"Over the next several months we'll see beautiful, powerful devices, from the smallest tablets to the most lightweight notebooks to versatile 2-in-1s, as well as industry devices designed for business," he wrote.
Windows 8.1 is slated for shipping Oct. 18, when it will be "broadly available for commercial customers with or without volume licensing agreements, our broad partner ecosystem, subscribers to MSDN and TechNet, as well as consumers."
Michael Silver, a Gartner analyst, said Microsoft met the date for sending Windows code to hardware makers, but breaking with tradition and not making it available to developers and IT pros via MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) and TechNet creates potential problems for subscribers to those programs.
"Not distributing the code beyond OEMs until October buys Microsoft 7 more weeks to work on it and fix things before users actually get it. This is good for Microsoft because the extra time allows it to make improvements and potentially get better reviews," Silver said via email.