Responding rapidly to the lukewarm uptake of its Windows 8 platform, Microsoft yesterday announced it has released Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 to its hardware partners.
“Windows 8.1 is a significant update, delivered in a very short time frame, which continues the vision set out with Windows 8,” the company says.
“In the past, this release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone meant that the software was ready for broader customer use,” Microsoft continues in its statement.

“However, times have changed and as such we have evolved the way we develop and our timing for delivery to ensure we are providing customers with the best possible experience. We have been working closely with our hardware partners so that they are in a position to prepare a wide array of devices in time for the holidays.

“While they are preparing these devices we will continue to work closely with them to continue to refine Windows 8.1 to ensure a quality experience for all customers at general availability (GA) on 18 October.

“This is the date when Windows 8.1 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.”