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Microsoft Reverses Course, Allows Devs Early Access to Windows 8.1

TechNet subscribers will also get early access.

Microsoft has done an about-face on its hugely unpopular decision to make MSDN subscribers (i.e. its army of Windows-focused developers) wait until general availability to get access to Windows 8.1. Brandon LeBlanc announced on the Windows Blog that both the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro Release To Manufacturing (RTM) builds are available now (TechNet subscribers, also left out in the cold under the decision to keep the RTM version under wraps until GA, will also get the build.)

Microsoft Chief Evangelist Steven Guggenheimer responded to the angry developer feedback on his blog:

"We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they're readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments. We've listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback. As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem."

Developers previously howled that they needed to get their hands on the next version of Windows 8 to make sure their apps would work properly with the upgraded OS. Their responses on LeBlanc's post to the reversal were generally favorable:

  • "Great decision, I'm glad Microsoft is listening to the community." -- controlz
  • "Thanks guys. Right choice. I am loving the new "we listen" Microsoft." -- Brandon
  • "Score one for us devs and IT Pros I guess.  Would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the meetings that took place to withold the bits and the subsequent meeting to realize that was a dumb idea." -- Chris123NT
  • "Great that you took another look at your decision and support your MSDN subscribers!" -- SvenC
  • "What can I say ... thanks for listening !!! ... This is truly great news for me and so many of us." -- danielgr

GA for Windows 8.1 is Oct. 18, which is also the first day the Windows Store for submission of updated or new apps.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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