Microsoft announces the availability of Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Dear Partners,

Today, we announced the availability of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.  Windows 8 is Windows reimagined, from the chipset to the user experience.  This Consumer Preview milestone is an important step on the journey to general availability. With the recent availability of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, partner organizations like yours are now able to start gaining familiarity with Windows 8 while helping customers factor Windows 8 into their end user computing plans.

Windows 8 is great for businesses because it delivers the experiences people love and the enterprise grade capabilities that IT departments need to ensure applications and data are well managed and secure.  

We are excited about reaching this important milestone for Windows 8 and look forwarding to working with you in helping customers realize the benefits of a modern computing environment.  Customers running Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will reach end of support by April 8, 2014.  In addition, new applications and OEM hardware may not support Windows XP in the coming months. This translates into additional risk and cost to customers. 

Our guidance to customers remains that the best path to prepare for Windows 8 is by moving to Windows 7 Enterprise, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), Internet Explorer 9 and Office 2010 today. 

I’d encourage your technical teams to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and experience first-hand the beautiful, fast and fluid experience that includes the mobility, performance and security features that businesses need.  Learn more about the enterprise capabilities of Windows 8 by checking the Windows 8
Consumer Preview Product Guide for Business
and the Windows 8 Springboard Web site with information and resources for IT Professionals.  Continue your efforts in Metro style application development and attend the upcoming training for developers.

Your sales and marketing teams should help customers understand how flexible workstyle scenarios can help address their needs today and in the future. 

All of the key resources and latest updates for partners can be found by visiting the Windows 8 page of the Microsoft Partner Network.