We are not too far away from finding out the fate of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 update, which is being seen as a great opportunity for the company to redeem itself — especially by those who don’t have greater expectations from Ballmer's departure. The word on the street is that Redmond has already released Windows 8.1 to manufacturing and the update is on track for a general release in October.
Build 9471 leak comes just a few days before RTM (release to manufacturing)
One of the many criticisms of Windows 8 is that it has a steep learning curve, which is ironic as Microsoft has also been accused of unnecessarily dumbing down its operating system by saddling it with a touch-friendly layer of tiles and apps. The upcoming Windows 8.1 update will thankfully address both issues. While we have already witnessed the ability to skip the Start Screen and boot straight to desktop in earlier builds, a new leaked build contains something that is meant to help first-time users acclimatize themselves to the Windows 8 interface a lot faster.
On Thursday, Microsoft’s Kirk Koenigsbauer took to the Office Blog to announce a key milestone in the development of Office 2013, which he dubbed the “most ambitious” yet. The next iteration of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite has been released to manufacturing (RTM), he revealed in his blog post.
Microsoft today released its touch-friendly Windows 8 operating system to manufacturers (RTM, or Released to Manufacturing). The release signals a milestone that indicates the software juggernaut has completed product development and exterminated enough bugs to feel confident enough to hand out final code to OEM partners. Companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard can now begin prepping new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, which they'll introduce to the public next month.
Steven Sinofsky and his team are guarding the release date of Redmond’s next OS pretty carefully these days, but despite the all the clues that point to a 2012 launch we haven’t had much to go on until now. According to ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft should be ready to launch Windows 8 by no later than summer 2012, with an official beta being seeded to developers at the September build conference.
The wait is over, folks. If you're not a TechNet subscriber and/or wanted no part of playing around with a non-final release of Service Pack 1 for Windows 7, then today's your day. Microsoft today made good on its promise to deliver SP1 to the general public on February 22, though there's a few things you should know before you go out and grab it.
At long last, Microsoft on Wednesday announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, the newest version of its database management system software.
Some of the key enhancements in the latest release include managed self-service business intelligence (BI) for reporting and analysis, enterprise-class scalability and greater IT efficiency, and platform integration spanning the data center to the cloud, Microsoft said.
"Customers continue to receive and create increasing amounts of data, as information impacts their business and social lives. Our goal is to help customers extract value and business insight from that information, whether it is stored locally on their PC, in a datacenter or in the cloud," said Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft. "Today’s release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is a big step forward in transforming how the IT department, the software developers, and end users interact and gain insight from data."
Microsoft said the new software will be available to customers starting in early May through the company's distribution and partner channels. In the meantime, you can take a digital tour at www.sqlserverlaunch.com.
In a blog post on Friday, Microsoft announced it has reached the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) milestone for the next version of Office, which includes Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010.
"RTM is the final engineering milestone of a product release and our engineering team has poured their heart and soul into reaching this milestone," said Takeshi Numoto, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Office. "It is also an appropriate time to re-emphasize our sincere gratitude to the more than 5,000 organizations and partners who have worked with us on rapid deployment and testing of the products."
Numoto went on to say that over 7.5 million people have downloaded the beta version since it went public in November 2009, which is more than 3 times the number of 2007 beta downloads.
Office 2010 will land in retail stores in June, though U.S. customers can already place preorders through the Microsoft Store. Pricing has been set to $150 for Home and Student, $280 for Home and Business, and $500 for Professional.
For the most part, Windows 7 has been met with considerable praise from those who have given the beta and RC releases a spin, but all those good vibes are in jeopardy following the discovery of a major bug. According to DailyTech, RTM build 7600.16385 suffers from a "massive" memory leak in the frequently used chkdsk.exe application.
The bug rears its ugly head when scanning a second hard disk on a non-boot partition or second physical drive using the "/r" parameter. Doing so triggers a nasty memory leak, with the term "leak" being used loosely. Some users have reported the dreaded blue screen of death, while others note a memory usage of about 98 percent within seconds of running the app, but without the system crash.
DailyTech says the bug has been confirmed on a variety of hardware configurations, including netbooks and Core 2 Duo notebooks, and it affects both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
"In this case, we haven’t reproduced the crash and we’re not seeing any crashes with chkdsk on the stack reported in any measurable number that we could find. We had one beta report on the memory usage, but that was resolved by design since we actually did design it to use more memory. But the design was to use more memory on purpose to speed things up, but never unbounded — we request the available memory and operate within that leaving at least 50M of physical memory. Our assumption was that using /r means your disk is such that you would prefer to get the repair done and over with rather than keep working."
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, Taiwan-based OEM PC makers are still waiting on Windows 7 tools from Microsoft as well as final validation tests from independent software and hardware vendors (ISVs and IHVs), putting them behind schedule. Previously, OEMs had hoped to roll out PCs with Windows 7 by the middle of this month, but are now shooting for September.
Although major OEMs were given RTM copies of Windows 7 around July 24th, the staggered release schedule is forcing ISVs and IHVs to wait until August 6th for the same code. That means OEMs hoping to include third-party software, like antivirus software, or drivers for specific hardware devices have to wait as well.
In preparation for Windows 7's October 22nd retail release, OEMs planned to have 10 million units of notebook and desktop PCs ready to go. In order to meet that goal, they would have to produce 2,000 PCs in a single month, which sources say isn't likely to happen.