Microsoft developers and IT professionals now have access to Windows 8.1 after the vendor reversed its controversial decision to make the group wait until it went on general release next month.
Two weeks ago, Microsoft made Windows 8.1 available to its manufacturers – a move which usually signals that IT pros wishing to test and develop the software can also get their hands on it – but the vendor said the group would have to wait until October before they could do so.
The decision sparked outrage among those affected, with some insisting they needed time to ensure their applications would work on the updated OS.
Over the weekend, Microsoft admitted that it has heard through its partners that the initial decision to make them wait would pose a "big challenge" for them, and has changed its mind as a result.
IT professionals, including channel partner techies, developers and some end users, can now gain access to Windows 8.1 via its Developers' Network (MSDN) and TechNet services.
"We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1... 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 said 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."
"We also recognise that our commercial customers need time to perform application compatibility and other testing and validation to best plan for their Windows 8.1 deployments following general availability on 18 October."
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