By Alexandra Burlacu | Aug 25, 2013 11:01 AM EDT
Microsoft has reportedly released Windows 8.1 to manufacturing, but there's still no word on whether developers or users will get to try it out before Oct. 18.
The company said it will release Windows 8.1 to manufacturing by the end of August and it now seems that Microsoft has kept its word.
The news comes from Windows SuperSite editor Paul Thurrot, who tweeted on Friday, Aug. 25, that the final build number for Windows 8.1 will be 9600.16384.130821-1623. The original tweet was not very clear, so Thurrot later sent a few replies to clarify.
The announcement naturally stirred plenty of interest and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley went on to do some digging to find more details. Microsoft is reportedly not confirming that Windows 8.1 has officially hit the release to manufacturing (RTM) stage, but sources told Foley that the new software version did hit RTM status on Aug. 23. Moreover, an official email allegedly made rounds around Microsoft to break the news.
Although the company did not officially confirm the RTM status, the move does fall in line with Microsoft's promise to have Windows 8.1 ready for a late August release to manufacturers.
Consumers, meanwhile, will not get to try out the new Windows 8.1 before Oct. 18, when the new software version makes its official debut. Microsoft has already offered a Windows 8.1 preview so interested parties can poke around its tweaks to the not-so-well-regarded Windows 8.
It remains unclear at this point, however, if the new Windows 8.1 will become available to some select groups such as TechNet and Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) before the official public unveiling on Oct. 18.
Historically, TechNet and MSDN members have received early access to Microsoft's updates so they could test the final builds of the updates before their official release.
If Microsoft does offer early access to members of these groups, it will likely occur on or around Sept. 7, judging by the timeline the company generally uses for subscriber availability following RTM announcements. An early access around Sept. 7 would come about two weeks post the RTM and more than one month ahead of public availability.
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