Subscribers to Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet services have been lucky in the sense that they get early access to the latest software products from the company compared to general audience.

But now it seems that these subscribers may have to wait a while before they can get their hands on the RTM version of Windows 8.1.

Microsoft has already announced its plans to hand off the RTM build of the new operating system to OEMs sometime in late August — in other words, in just a week or so. And the various leaked builds that have surfaced recently are a sign that the company is inching closer to this milestone.

And traditionally, the technology titan has allowed subscribers to its MSDN and TechNet services an early access to the next version of Windows before it is released to general public.

Windows 8, for example, hit RTM stage on August 1, 2012. And it was available on the MSDN and TechNet channels two weeks later on August 15. But Mary Jo Foley is reporting that Redmond may try to shuffle things a bit and go in with a different strategy this time around.

In fact, it may hold off offering Windows 8.1 to everyone until the middle of October. Late October has traditionally been the launch window (pun always intended) of previous versions of Windows.

It is speculated that such a strategy will not only allow Microsoft a chance to iron out some bugs between the time the operating system hits RTM status and when it is generally available.

It will also keep interest levels at high, as technology enthusiasts may not get a chance to play with the operating system a month or so before release.

Are you a subscriber to any of these two Microsoft services? If so, what are your feelings about this new report? Comment away.

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  • Slowhandjoe

    MSDN and Technet are the ones who service many end-users and I know I use the time between RTM and open release to explore and experiment with the gold code so I’m ready to support my customer base at their earliest usage needs. If we have to wait until the same day to have access to the final product it makes us look like enthusiasts and not professionals. If this is Microsoft’s final decision then they will alienate many IT professionals on whom they depend to promote and support their products with the general public.
    If Microsoft are going to follow this pathway then it’s maybe a good thing they’re shutting down Technet since one of the main reasons I subscribe is to have advance access to products I’ll be promoting and supporting with my customer base. Those customers look to me when new software is released because as we saw with Windows 8 what Microsoft believed was a massively intuitive OS was a puzzle to all and sundry. Good luck to Microsoft if they want to progress Windows 8.1 if they decide to tie IT professionals and developers into the same release schedules as end users.

  • Ray C

    I understand subcribers being upset but honestly consumers and IT pros have both been testing 8.1. Yes, there are some improvements in each build, but it’s not like subscribers are going to have to sit down and support something they’ve completely not seen before.

    • Slowhandjoe

      I don’t know about you but usually even with previews stage – I load them on a test machine and don’t upgrade existing machines that have been running for quite some time with lots of other software built up on them. Usually only once I have the gold code do I begin updating my own full builds and there can be enough differences and little bits not working in preview builds for it to need a few weeks experimenting before I feel confident to support users who haven’t been trying out the new software.