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Developers force Microsoft into new U-turn over Windows 8.1 RTM

Microsoft has reversed course and provided the release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8.1 to developers and IT pros via MSDN and TechNet.

The Redmond-based company also launched the release candidate for Visual Studio 2013.

"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," Microsoft's chief evangelist, Steve Guggenheimer, wrote in a blog post.

"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."

Windows 8.1 RTM was provided to PC makers in late August. But in this new app-driven age, developers as well as PC makers need some time to test out a new OS before the final release date. As a result, the developer and IT community was annoyed when it found out that it might not have time prior to the 18 October general release of Windows 8.1 to work out any kinks.

That should no longer be a problem.

"With these updated platform and tools bits, developers will be able to build and test their Windows 8.1 apps," Guggenheimer wrote. "We recognize the critical role developers play—the breadth of our apps ecosystem is a key pillar of the Windows experience."

Microsoft has already made a number of U-turns over the Xbox One, which will land on 22 November.

Updates in 8.1 include more personalisation, Internet Explorer 11, search powered by Bing, built-in apps, an improved Windows Store experience, and cloud connectivity with SkyDrive.