Developers and IT professionals can download Windows 8.1 NOW

Two weeks ago I wrote a piece called Microsoft, if you want apps for Windows 8.1, don’t piss off developers in which I expressed disbelief that Microsoft wasn’t making the RTM build of Windows 8.1 available to app creators. Microsoft’s plan was to only release the RTM to hardware makers, which seemed a crazy decision.

Fortunately, Microsoft has once again listened to the complaints and performed one of its frequent U-turns, announcing that developers and IT professionals will now be able to get their hands on the Windows 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro RTM builds early -- from today in fact.

If you have an MSDN or TechNet subscription you can download the RTM now. The Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM builds are available too, and developers can also get their hands on the Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate.

Windows 8.1 Enterprise RTM build will be made available later this month.

In a blog post, Microsoft's Chief Evangelist Steve Guggenheimer, explains the change of heart, saying:

We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they’re readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments. We’ve listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback. As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem.

It’s great news for developers and IT professionals, and a smart move on Microsoft’s behalf. I’ve already admitted my love for Windows 8.1 and am excitedly downloading the Windows 8.1 RTM right now.

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