The last horse looks to be crossing the finishing line in the run-up to the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. The metro-laden eight edition of the market leading OS will Release to Manufacturing (otherwise known as RTM) in the first week of August, with the retail edition following in late October.

The RTM edition is the final version, and manufacturers of your ASUS and Toshiba laptops and computers get their copies in advance to pre-load onto their operating systems, usually accompanied by a great deal of bloatware. Since Windows has, in the past, been quite an expensive OS to upgrade, often consumers found themselves purchasing a new computer somewhat prematurely, but because of the generous upgrade prices Microsoft is offering up until the end of January, it’s possible computer sales might not go up as sharply this time around with Windows 8’s release.

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The confirmation was offered Microsoft’s Tami Reller, who announced the RTM and retail dates at the software maker’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Canada. Obviously, if the Redmond outfit hits any unforeseen snags, the release could be delayed, although Reller seems confident that will not occur, stating the company is “on track” to finish the final copy of Windows 8 by the beginning of August.

Most of the company’s estimates with regards to Windows 8 have been accurate thus far, so there’s no reason to suspect it will fall at the apparent final hurdle. Microsoft revealed towards the end of May that the RTM would be announced within a couple of months, a forecast it has quite clearly delivered on.

Consumers have already had a great deal of time to play around with the Release Preview, and although no figures regarding satisfaction have caught our eye, the consensus seems to be that Windows 8 is, without doubt, the best edition yet.

The Metro user-interface is primarily tailored to devices with touchscreens, and although the release of Windows 8 at desktop level is something to savor, one suspects most are looking forward to getting their hands on the Microsoft Surface, as well as the many as-yet unannounced smartphone devices which will run Windows Phone 8.

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We’ll have more news regarding Windows 8 as it breaks, so stay tuned to our coverage here at Redmond Pie.

(via WindowsTeamBlog)

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