In an effort to remind its partners of what Microsoft has done for them lately, the software giant has announced when Windows 8 will be released to manufacturers.
Windows 8 for the Holidays
According to the company, Windows 8 will be available to computer and equipment makers during the first week of August, with general availability to the public near Halloween - in plenty of time for the holiday shopping season.
The subject of Windows 8 has become a touchy one for the companies that build Windows-powered computers, tablets and smartphones since the announcement of the Microsoft Surface tablet in mid-June, which caught a lot of Microsoft’s partners flat-footed.
So, in this morning’s keynote presentation of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the company pulled out all the stops to show attendees how much the folks at Redmond love them. Apparently all it takes is some fancy dancers and flying torches from Cirque du Soleil to make things better.
Or so Microsoft would like to think.
Of course, it also didn’t hurt that Microsoft also went out of its way to showcase Windows 8 devices already ginned up by partners such as Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Sony. (Lenovo’s laptop-to-tablet convertible IdeaPad Yoga device was particularly highlighted, perhaps to ease partners' minds that Microsoft wasn’t going to rip the rug out from underneath them by diving into the tablet business full time.)
Business as Usual
Everything about today’s announcement was meant to signal business as usual to Microsoft partners, save the slightly earlier date of the announcement itself. Several sites and forums had pegged the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) announcement for later this month at the Microsoft Global Exchange conference in Atlanta. That may never have been the case, but given the slow burn coming from partners after the Surface announcement last month, moving the RTM announcement up a week surely didn’t hurt.
Most importantly, this means that Windows 8 machines of many stripes will be very much available in time for the holiday buying season. That will offer shoppers more choices and give manufacturers a chance to boost sales.
And, given that Apple was already planning an event of its own sometime this September or October, you can be reasonably assured that Microsoft’s nemesis will have its own anti-Windows 8 message crafted in time to steal as much of Microsoft’s thunder as possible.