Software Giant Microsoft announced Wednesday that it had released its much-awaited touch-based Windows 8 operating system to manufacturers.

The announcement regarding the release came on the Windows Team Blog post from Brandon LeBlanc, communications manager, Microsoft.

In the post, LeBlanc stated: "I am excited to announce that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM)! This means we've completed the product development and testing of the product and have started handing off the final code to our OEM partners. They can now begin preparing new Windows 8 PCs and devices they'll introduce starting with General Availability."

The blog post also mentioned that developers could download the Windows 8 operating system via MSDN subscriptions August 15 and simultaneously IT professionals testing Windows 8 could access the final version through TechNet subscriptions. The August 15 release date for developers has been fixed with the intention to equip them to access the tools and resources they require to design, build and sell apps in the Windows store, including the final build of Visual Studio 2012.

The official launch date for the general public remains set for October 26. But customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance can download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center August 16. Besides, Microsoft partners can also download the OS August 16.

August 20 is the date identified for enabling access to Microsoft Action Pack Providers while Volume License Customers without Software Assurance can purchase Windows 8 from resellers starting September 1.

The Operating System is tipped to be made available in 109 languages across 231 markets the world over. Industry buzz has it that several OEMs will be ready to launch their ultrabooks and tablets running the OS in time for the October 26 release.