Originally published as Microsoft Announces Windows 8 Release to Manufacturing on Technorati.
Yesterday Microsoft announced that it’s new client operating system, Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing. Basically what this means is that the company has completed product development and have initiated the process of, “handing off the final code to our OEM partners,” according to a post by Microsoft Communications Manager, Brandon LeBlanc.
With general availability scheduled for October 26th, OEM’s can now begin preparing new Windows 8 PC’s and devices. For those looking to upgrade, they will be available for $39.99, or if you purchase a Windows 7 PC between now and October 26th, you can upgrade for $14.99 through Windows Upgrade Offer.
With all the changes to the new operating system, including new Metro apps and design changes, some are forecasting the transition to be nightmarish. According to Thomas Koll, whose company Laplink just released PCmover, a utility to help individuals and businesses upgrade seamlessly said, “We expect users of Windows 7 will be able to upgrade to the same 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 8, but most other situations are likely to be difficult.” Adding, “For Windows XP users, upgrading to Windows 8 will be a nightmare and almost impossible which is still about half of all PC’s. Windows Vista users will have limited options and will likely lose all their applications.”
PCmover, which was pre-announced in early July, aims to make the transition to Windows 8 easier for businesses and individuals. Laplink forecasts there will be 125 million users of Windows 8 in N. America alone within 18-months of it’s release, which will easily be the largest migration ever to a new operating system. But these won’t be coming from “in-place” upgrades, or existing hardware upgrades according to Koll, with consumers likely to adopt new hardware to take full advantage of the new operating system. Laplink also estimates that there will be significant enterprise adoption of Windows 8 tablets, as it allows for easy Windows ecosystem compatibility, ability to join domains, and generally makes it easy for IT to manage.