Windows 8.1 To Be Released As Free Update On 18 October

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Microsoft confirms Windows 8.1 will be rolled out worldwide in two months time

Microsoft has confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be rolled out to consumers on 18 October as a free update, while it will also be available on new devices and at retailers.

Windows 8.1 is currently available as a consumer preview and enterprise preview, and promises a host of improvements to the operating system, which has received a mixed reception since it was launched last year.

“It’s very exciting to be delivering Windows 8.1 to consumers just before Windows 8 celebrates its 1-year anniversary,” said Microsoft, which will provide the ready-to-market version of the software to manufacturers at the end of the month, affording its partners time to prepare products for the Christmas season.

Windows 8.1 update

Windows 8.1 StartWindows 8 has endured a difficult start to its life, having seemingly been unable to revive flagging PC sales, nor significantly expand Microsoft’s share of the lucrative tablet market. Early adopters have complained of usability options, while enterprises are seemingly uninterested in migrating to the platform, preferring to move to the older Windows 7.

Microsoft is undeterred by the criticism, boasting that the platform has sold 100 million licences and logged 60 billion hours of use.

Windows 8.1 adds a number of improvements, including enhanced applications, Internet Explorer 11 and the return of the start button, but not the start menu. Microsoft says Windows 8.1 “refines the vision of Windows 8,” but critics have argued it fails to address many of the criticisms levelled at the platform.

It also introduces a number of features for enterprises, including security enhancements, management tools and new features aimed at implementing and securing BYOD mobile units.

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Originally published on eWeek.