Finally: Microsoft has pinned some real availability dates on Windows 8.
Tami Reller, corporate vice president of Windows, told partners attending Microsoft's worldwide partner conference in Toronto this morning that Windows 8 is on track to be released to manufacturing the first week of August, and to be generally available by late October 2012.
This also means that Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing by the first week of August. But the server bits won't be available to customers until September, a July 9 post on the Windows Server blog confirms the RTM date.
Reller also said that business users (volume licensees with Software Assurance) will have access to the final Windows 8 bits "as early as the beginning of August." I've asked when TechNet and MSDN users will have access; no word back yet.
The October general availability date has been rumored for months. A late July RTM date for Windows 8 has been rumored for a while. I wouldn't be surprised, myself, to see the operating system be declared gold/RTM this month, in keeping with the Windows team's underpromise/overdeliver mantra.
Reller also announced at the partner show that Microsoft has sold 630 million Windows 7 licenses to date, up from 600 million at the beginning of June.
The Windows team's @BuildWindows8 account on Twitter recently repeated that the official guidance was that as of May 31, Microsoft execs had said to expect Microsoft to enter the "final phases" of the RTM process "in about two months," assuming all was seen as progressing well by Microsoft and its partners.
Microsoft officials said in late June that the newly announced Microsoft Surface PC/tablets running Windows RT would be available at the time Windows 8 is generally available. So that means the ARM-based Surfaces will be out by then, one would expect.
This story originally appeared at ZDNet under the headline "It's official: Windows 8 to be generally available in late October." It has been updated throughout the morning.