Just yesterday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer openly discussed the next version of Windows and officially referred to it as "Windows 8" and that it would launch in 2012. Today, Microsoft issued a statement retracting Ballmer's words and calling them a "misstatement."
Ballmer's reference to Windows 8 being available next year for a variety of form factors highlighted Microsoft's attempt to push the Windows platform to a multitude of devices to combat the increasing competition from tablets such as the iPad.
Well, apparently, Ballmer got the ball rolling a little too soon. A spokesperson from Microsoft issued a statement saying, "It appears there was a misstatement. We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows." Ironic how the CEO's statement was being pulled by a spokesperson. Did Ballmer say something he wasn't supposed to... yet?
Microsoft tends to stay tight-lipped about its products. For example, we didn't know that Windows Vista's successor was going to be labeled as Windows 7 until weeks before its debut to developers.
Intel recently announced that Microsoft would be making four different versions of its next Windows operating system to run on ARM processor. Microsoft quickly retracted that statement by saying that it was "factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading."
"The fact that Intel made a statement about Windows 8 means that the first set of key OEMs have their hands on code. That makes sense. You want important OEMs and partners to have the [Windows 8] code, call it an 'alpha,' before PDC so that they can test and build low-level drivers. At PDC, Microsoft will probably release a beta or preview, then nine to 12 months after that, launch Windows 8. That puts it in late 2012 or early 2013. If this is going to be a true tablet OS, which runs fast, has low power requirements and all the rest, then Microsoft has to get it right the first time. They're coming to the party late, long after Apple and Google, so they have to come in with a really great product, and can't have any problems or cut features or expectations. They have only one chance," said analyst Michael Cherry.