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Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

May 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Windows 8 Release Preview now available

Microsoft has just made available for download the Release Preview version of Windows 8.

You can download it here.

Windows 8 is the big overhaul of Microsoft’s flagship operating system that is expected to become generally available for retail in October.

In the meantime, earlier test versions of it have been released, including the Developer Preview last September, the Consumer Preview earlier this year and now the Release Preview. There should be one more step — Release to Manufacturing — before Windows 8 becomes generally available.

Among the features in the Release Preview are new apps — including ones for travel, news and sports — powered by Bing; improvements to the Mail, Photos and People apps and increased personalization options for the Start screen.

Microsoft also made available for download today Windows Server “8” beta.

The company also said that, starting on Saturday, it is rolling out the Windows Upgrade Offer in 131 markets, including the US and Canada, meaning customers who buy eligible Windows 7 PCs will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99.

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