Windows 8.1 lockscreen

Microsoft has confirmed that the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8.1 will be arriving in late August.

According to the software giant, this means original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will be able to produce device running Windows 8.1 "just in time for the holidays". Tami Reller made the announcement at the firm's annual Worldwide Partner Conference.

We've taken a thorough look at the Windows 8.1 Preview so check out our review. It represents a big change for Microsoft and the way it handles updates to its desktop and tablet operating system. It's the first time the company has opted out of releasing a service pack.

Microsoft said in a blog post: "We'll have more details to share in the coming months for consumers and other customers on how to get Windows 8.1."

Not only will Windows 8.1 be released to OEMs as a final version, existing Windows 8 users will be able to download it for free later this year via the Windows Store.

Microsoft has confirmed that it has reached the milestone of 100 million Windows 8 licenses sold since the operating system launched in October last year. The firm has 20 million enterprise evaluations and Windows 8 has logged 60 billion hours of use, it said.

Reller also announced a scheme called TouchWins which will give incentives for distributors and resellers which sell featured Windows PCs and tablets. These need to be devices running Windows 8 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro.

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