Microsoft earlier this week released its upcoming Windows 8 operating system to manufacturers, signaling the end of development and paving the way for a worldwide public release in late October. This does not mean everyone will have to wait that long to get their hands on Windows 8, with Premium MSDN and Technet subscribers scheduled to get their copies on August 15, 2012. Well, at least that’s what Microsoft had planned.
No, Microsoft hasn’t announced a change in Windows 8’s release schedule. Instead, the final version of Windows 8 has leaked onto the Web well ahead of its official rendezvous with developers later this month. The leaked Windows 8 RTM build, which is currently available on many file-sharing sites across the Web, is the Windows 8 Enterprise “N” edition. Meant for Europe, this particular version does not come preloaded with Windows Media Player in accordance with a 2004 European Commission ruling.
Windows 8 leaks are nothing new, with the history of such leaks stretching back to April last year. After early builds of the upcoming operating system began leaking last year, there were unconfirmed reports that Microsoft had fired two employees in connection with the leaks. But those firings, if they indeed happened, don’t seem to have the desired deterrent effect.