UPDATE: MSDN Program Manager James Van Eaton has informed me that MSDN subscribers will be able to download Windows Me the first week of August.

MSDN Universal and Professional subscribers will get early access to Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) this week when Microsoft makes the OS available for download on the Subscriber Downloads Web site. And with beta testers also getting the release this week, the only people that will have to wait any longer are Microsoft's actual customers, which face a two and a half month wait for retail availability. And though no PC makers have explicitly announced support for Windows Me, it's expected that Dell, Compaq, and other major PC makers will make Windows Me-based systems available sometime this summer. Window Me is the final release in the Windows 9x family of operating systems. Designed for home users, Windows Me provides advances in digital media and home networking while offering the widest support for consumer-grade hardware and software.

Originally, Microsoft had planned to leave Windows Me out of the MSDN subscription, which is geared toward software developers that want to leverage Microsoft platforms. But a call-in campaign waged after an exclusive WinInfo report in February caused the company to rethink its plans. MSDN subscribers first got access to the Beta 3 release and, just a few weeks ago, RC1. With the final release due any day now, MSDN subscribers will be among the first to get their hands on the final version of this new consumer OS