Microsoft kicked off its Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto with a bit of a bang earlier today — during the event’s keynote address, Microsoft VP and Windows CFO Tami Reller revealed when manufacturers and consumers would be able to get their hands on Windows 8.
The long-awaited operating system is on track to be released to manufacturers in the first week of August, with a consumer launch slated for “late October.”
Though it’s nice to finally have an actual timeline for the Windows 8 release process, the particular launch window Microsoft announced isn’t much of a surprise — rumors of an October launch have been swirling for a little while now.
That said, it isn’t without its shortcomings. With “general availability” set for October, Microsoft and its hardware partners will largely miss out on the lucrative back-to-school computer shopping season that kicks off late in the summer and generally runs through September.
It’s not a complete loss though, as Microsoft has been busy covering its bases. The company revealed its Windows Upgrade Offer back in June, under which customers who purchase Windows 7 PCs between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 will be able to upgrade to the new operating system for a scant $15. What’s more, Microsoft last week has said that users on XP, Vista, or 7 will be able to purchase the Windows 8 upgrade for $40 once October rolls around in an attempt to simplify the transition.
Sure, it’s not the same as actually having Windows 8 PCs on store shelves and displays waiting to be played with (especially when Macs seem to be popular among the back-to-school crowd), but it’s far better than nothing.