Happy Friday, dear friends. As we do every week, this post is a short look back at TNW’s coverage of Microsoft’s last seven days. Often, the post is light, as the Redmond-based software giant may have had a quiet week. Not this time.

That in mind, and as always, check the archives for a full dose. Ensure that you are following TNW Microsoft on both Twitter and Facebook, and let’s get into the news.

Windows 8 RTMs, leaks

Big news: Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing. This means that, to Microsoft, this bad boy is done.

Windows 8 will become generally available on October 26th, but MSDN subscribers will start to receive the code on August 15th, in an expanding fashion. For a look at when you might be able to get your hands on the code legitimately, head here. However, for the curious, the code is already out on your favorite torrent website. Microsoft declined to comment on the leak. TNW has confirmed that it is legitimate.

It’s been a very, very long road. However, Windows 8 is now all grown up. Oh, if you do snag that Windows 8 RTM build, you can’t activate it, so customization is a big no-no.

Windows RT, Windows Server 2012 RTM as well

And, cowering slightly in the shadow of Windows 8′s RTM, so too did Windows RT and Windows Server 2012 wrap up as well. It was a massive day for Microsoft.

These releases are not surprising, but they do show that Microsoft is managing to hit all of its timings properly, in regards to its software scheduling. This means that there should be no surprises come the Fall.

Outlook.com launches, scores

Any other week, this would have been the top story. Several days ago, Microsoft launched a new webmail product, called Outlook.com, to the public. You can upgrade your Hotmail account to it now, if you so desire. TNW’s take was the following:

TNW has extensively tested the product. It’s our view that Outlook.com is a well-designed webmail product that has the potential to reverse Microsoft’s lengthy slide in the product category to Google’s Gmail.

TNW reader sentiment was also quite positive. Given that it launched to a massive, massive wave of press, Outlook.com shot to more than 1 million users in, if we calculate properly, its first 7 hours. Microsoft was more than content with that, trumpeting the milestone.

For our full review, head here. Why this matters: All Hotmail users are eventually going to be Outlook.com users, period. There will be a stretch of time, I suspect a lengthy one, in which people can move themselves to the new product if they so choose. However, all users will be assimilated, kicking and screaming or not.

As the Live web brand is unwound, Outlook.com could be the face of the next generation of Microsoft web. If so, not bad.

Metro is on its way out

Short take here: Metro is, according to several reports, over. Our guesswork is here. Expect a rebrand soon.

More Microsoft Stores?

Job listings are strongly hinting that Microsoft will roll out a number of temporary holiday stores later this year. Here’s TNW’s take on just what is going on:

Microsoft can afford to rent large tracts of real estate in prime locations, put together a staff, and both teach Windows 8 and sell Surface units in a very public, noticeable way. Now, it might not want to keep all those locations, given their likely high rents (downtown Chicago is more expensive to lease than the suburbs of the city, where the company’s permanent store resides). However, it can well afford to spend some time there. Why? From the other direction, it almost can’t not spend the money. If it doesn’t, its lack of presence could hamper its chances of a strong Windows 8 launch.

So if you are looking for a job later this year, well, you know where to look.

Honeywell in the bag

Finally, Microsoft this week reported that it landed yet another patent deal covering Android and Chrome OS with Honeywell. Microsoft has more than 70% of Android unit volume paying it royalties.

And that’s our report. Now, make a yourself a dry gibson, and take a load off. Top Image Credit: BUILDWindows