Appearing in Toronto at Microsoft's annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), senior Windows chief Tami Reller let slip some details regarding the availability of Windows 8: PC manufacturers are set to receive the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 8 in late-August, while consumers will be able to upgrade in late-October. The Redmond-based company also recently revealed that the cost of upgrading to Windows 8 Pro will be just US$39.99.

The RTM version of Windows follows the Release Preview and is typically made available to PC manufacturers a couple of months before the full consumer release is unleashed, in order to ensure that the latest generation of computers sold are up to spec and compatible with the new operating system (OS). Microsoft no doubt hopes that the low upgrade price of Windows 8 will help ensure speedy adoption and the move mirrors Apple's policy of offering inexpensive OS upgrades.

"We set out to make it as easy as possible for everyone to upgrade to Windows 8" wrote Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc on the official Windows Blog. "Starting at general availability, if your PC is running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 you will qualify to download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $39.99 in 131 markets. And if you want, you can add Windows Media Center for free through the 'add features' option within Windows 8 Pro after your upgrade."

Those determined to own a physical DVD can do so for $69.99 and the upgrade promotion runs until January 31st, 2013. In addition, consumers who purchase a qualifying Windows 7-equipped PC between June 2 and January 31, 2013 will be eligible for a yet further discounted download-only copy of Windows 8 Pro.

The price of the new-purchase upgrade offer varies by region and includes US$14.99, AUD$14.99 and GBP£14.99. For further information on this offer and the complete list of pricing worldwide, visit Microsoft's Windows Upgrade Offer FAQ.

Source: Windows Blog