It seems there’s no telling what Microsoft will do nowadays as it has reversed its earlier decision not to give developers early access to the Windows 8.1 RTM. Some developers report that they already have access to the RTM through the MSDN, while others are still waiting for it to go live. Here’s what the reversal means for Windows 8 developers.

Windows 8.1 RTM Released to Developers

Despite the staggering numbers of Windows 8 adopters, not everyone is happy with the new OS or being forced to upgrade to it. In fact, many Windows 8 early adopters have jumped ship for Macs, Linux and even back to Windows 7 in some cases. Windows 8 is a true evolution of the OS but unfortunately, Microsoft’s shortsightedness miffed many long time consumers.


When Microsoft failed to release the Windows 8.1 RTM to developers, the backlash was heard around the Web. Developers were pleading with Microsoft to let them have early access so that they could upgrade, modify and even create new apps and software titles for the OS. Why would Microsoft deny them that opportunity? Considering Microsoft has less than 115,000 apps available and is dwarfed by the likes of the Google Play Store, the iTunes Store, and other third-party app stores, this made the tech industry scratch its head.

Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Developer and Platform Evangelism, says:

“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.”

Guggenheimer announced that Windows 8.1 RTM would be available to developers via the MSDN and TechNet. It will come in the following builds:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Visual Studio 2013 RC

Microsoft has said it will be available at the end of the month but many developers have already shown they have access to the RTM ISO. Whether or not this was intentional or another accidental slip on Microsoft’s part, we’ll never know. This is one of the first times since Windows 8 has been released that Microsoft has actually taken into consideration user and developer feedback.

While this is great for developers who take an active interest in Windows 8 app development, there’s no telling if Microsoft will make strides with consumers concerns on their latest flagship OS.


Windows 8.1 comes to consumers October 17, 2013. This gives app developers just over a month to get apps ready for its final release. While this is generally a much shorter window to work with, it’ll have to do as Microsoft faces the task of appeasing app developers who would rather create apps on other networks than continue to wait for Microsoft to slap them in the face again.

Will the Windows 8.1 release make a difference to consumers and developers alike? We’ll find out on October 17th.