June 25, 2012, 4:52 PM — Microsoft is a little more than three weeks away from wrapping up Windows 8, according to leaks of recent builds of the upcoming operating system and claims by a Russian blog.
Windows 8 RTM, for "release to manufacturing," is close, said sites and discussion forums that posted information about builds marked as "RTM," the milestone that marks completed code ready to ship to computer makers.
Neowin.net first reported Monday on the rumors of the impending completion of Windows 8.
According to the Russian-language blog WZor.net, which requires registration for viewing, the Redmond, Wash. developer will announce that Windows 8 has reached RTM at the Microsoft Global eXchange (MGX), which runs July 17-20 in Atlanta.
MGX is the company's annual internal mass meeting of executives, salespeople and product managers where the next fiscal year's goals and projects are trumpeted to the troops.
The week before MGX, on or around July 12, Microsoft will sign off on the "gold" code for RTM -- in effect approving the latest compiled build as suitable for distribution -- said WZor.net.
Microsoft also used MGX to announce Windows 7 RTM in 2009.
Currently, new builds of Windows 8 are being held in what Microsoft calls "Escrow," meaning that all development stops while the code is tested. If no major bugs are found, that Escrow build then transforms into the milestone, in this case, RTM. That process is common among software developers.
It's not unusual for multiple builds, one after the other, to be tagged as Escrow.
The late July timetable for Windows 8 RTM matches 2009's Windows 7. That year, Microsoft announced RTM on July 22 after compiling the last build on July 13. It officially launched the operating system on Oct. 22.
Earlier this year, Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, said Microsoft had to deliver Windows 8 RC by the end of May and RTM by the end of August to make a fall ship date. Microsoft made Cherry's deadline for Windows 8 Release Preview, which hit download servers May 31, and if WZor.net's account is on target, will do the same for Windows 8 RTM with weeks to spare.
Another date that reinforces the idea that Microsoft will declare Windows 8 RTM next month is the company's quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts, slated for July 19.