Microsoft will release Windows 8.1 to computer and tablet makers in late August, a company executive said today.

Tami Reller, the CFO of the Windows group, announced the date during the opening keynote address of Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which runs through Thursday in Houston.

"I'm also quite happy to confirm today that Windows 8.1 will be available for our OEM partners in late August, meaning that holiday devices, many of them, will have Windows 8.1," said Reller.

She did not use the term "release to manufacturing," or RTM, the label Microsoft has historically applied to finished code ready to distribute to hardware makers.

But RTM is, in fact, what she meant.

Microsoft has not yet disclosed the public launch date for Windows 8.1 -- Reller simply repeated the "this fall" timetable the company has used for some time -- but the August RTM hints at a schedule similar to last year's Windows 8.

In 2012, Microsoft announced Windows 8's RTM on Aug. 1, and launched the OS in retail on Oct. 26.