According to this TheVarGuy article, Microsoft has announced October 18th as the official release date for Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 is Microsoft’s answer to the numerous complaints they’ve received regarding the start button being removed in Windows 8 along with the ability to boot directly to the desktop as opposed to the start screen.
We’ve tried the preview that was released a few months ago and we have had nothing but problems. We will definitely give the final release a trial run before making our recommendations to our clients. Our current recommendation is to hold tight, there are multiple problems and incompatibilities with Windows 8.1 and many third party programs.
Microsoft plans to release this new version of Windows free of charge. This is not a service pack or an “update” but rather an entirely new operating system. The updated operating system will be available via Microsoft’s App Store.
Currently we are still recommending our clients to continue to use either Windows 7 or 8. Windows 8, once you get used to utilizing the windows key on your keyboard, is great. We’ve been using it at the office and at home for the past 4 months with NO problems. We love it actually.