Microsoft's final version of Windows 8 is now available to download for MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Known as the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) version, this final copy of the operating system is the same one that will ship on thousands of Windows 8 PCs at general availability on October 26th. Microsoft Software Assurance customers will get the RTM bits on August 16th, and Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers on September 1st.

Although the final bits are available to Microsoft's developer and IT professional subscribers, consumers will have to wait until October 26th to purchase a copy online or in store. Alongside the early Windows 8 availability, Microsoft is also launching a final version of its Windows Store today — opening it up to additional developers. Microsoft will be hoping that its early release today will fuel new apps over the coming weeks and months — so we should start to see even more Windows 8 style apps available in the Store in preparation for October 26th.

Check out our initial impressions of the final version of Windows 8 right here.