"This is a bit of a mistake," said Wes Miller, an analyst with independent research firm Directions on Microsoft. "But there's an obvious reason why they're elected to hold back the code."
Miller pointed to the work-in-progress admission by Microsoft as that reason.
Even so, it wasn't ideal, Miller said. "If you're trying to endear yourself to enterprise developers, [Windows 8.1] is your service pack," he said, referring to the almost-defunct Microsoft practice of collecting previous bug fixes into a single download collection. "They need to be kicking tires so that they can start writing apps for their businesses."
While Microsoft's goal of creating a solid update was commendable, Miller said, denying developers Windows 8.1 RTM means that there will be few if any Windows 8.1-optimized apps in the Windows Store on the October launch date.
"It's all about the apps," Miller said, repeating his earlier position that the app ecosystem is critical to Windows 8's, and now Windows 8.1's, success. "You can't make 8.1 apps unless you have the final code."
"Why, out of the clear blue, have you decided to not release early to MSDN?" asked slaythoven. "Bug fixes and continual code updates aren't a good enough reason due to the fact that there's an excellent tool at delivering those bits, named Windows Update."
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