Microsoft relents - Windows 8.1 and Server 2012 R2 are on TechNet Plus NOW
Hat tip to Ars Technica: Microsoft relents: MSDN and TechNet will get Windows 8.1 early after all | Ars Technica
So we can't deploy just yet due to the VL editions not being available, but if you have a TechNet Plus sub (which you get with EES), you can grab some testing copies now without having to resort to BitTorrent. I'm downloading now. TechNet may be being killed off, but we still get some use out of it before they put it out to pasture.
Microsoft has heard the response and has changed its mind. Its new policy is the old policy: MSDN and TechNet subscribers will get immediate access to Windows 8.1 for testing and development purposes. Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 will be available to download now, and volume license versions of Windows 8.1 will be made available by the end of September. The company does warn that it is continuing to develop the online services that Windows 8.1 uses, so the software will not deliver the full, final experience just yet.