Microsoft is finally giving its bread and butter enterprise customers the ability to download Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM through its TechNet and MSDN subscriptions.
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Volume licensing customers also will be able to download the new RTM if they have an active Software Assurance (SA) agreement.
Just last week, Microsoft had to reverse its stance on giving out Windows 8.1 RTM bits to IT pros and developers. Windows developers who caused an uproar were particularly upset at being left out of the initial Windows 8.1 RTM release to PC manufacturers.
A Microsoft spokesperson said after the Windows 8.1 RTM was made available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers there were code reviews and other processes that needed to occur before releasing additional products to the public.
If Microsoft wants to court enterprise customers and encourage them to test Windows 8.1 in their organizations, they need to make sure all the pieces are available to IT professionals and simply communicate their intention.
All they had to do was explain that they planned to do a phased approach for releasing the various versions of Windows 8.1 RTM. First Windows 8.1 RTM will go to the PC manufacturers, then to IT pros and developers and finally, Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM for volume licensing customers who have an active SA agreement.
Had Microsoft communicated this approach, it would have suffered a lot less backlash from the industry. Hopefully Microsoft learned some lessons from this experience.
On a separate note, if you don’t have an MSDN or TechNet subscription and need to wait until October 18 to get a commercial copy of Windows 8.1, Microsoft released the list pricing for those who don’t qualify for a free upgrade.
Windows 8.1 will cost you $119.99 and Windows 8.1 Pro will cost $199.99. And here’s some other pricing. For those who are thinking of buying a new Windows 8.1 device too, you can upgrade your Windows 8.1 operating system the Pro Pack version that includes Media Center for $99.99. If you are planning to buy Windows Pro 8.1, you can add-on the Media Center for $9.99.