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Roadmap leak puts Windows 8 tablets in back-to-school 2012

updated 07:25 pm EST, Thu March 3, 2011

Windows 8 roadmap tip puts it in late summer 2012

Microsoft's long-term schedule for Windows 8 tablets was given support Thursday night with an apparent leak of the timetable. Sources backed the notion of a Windows 8 public beta being ready at the end of 2011 and a finished version of the OS nearly a year, in time for the "back-to-school season." The timing given to Bloomberg wasn't more specific, but it would be consistent with the third anniversary of Windows 7's Release To Manufacturing (RTM) and Microsoft's preference for three-year gaps between OS releases.

The OS is expected to be Microsoft's first true, specifically tablet oriented version of Windows and its best chance at competing with Apple and Google in the burgeoning mobile tablet category. It should have more touch-oriented elements, possibly borrowing cues from its own Metro UI from Windows Phone 7 and from Apple. Microsoft has been quiet on most details but has made tablets its clear focus with support for ARM promising much better battery life and thinner designs.

A late 2012 schedule was expected by many, but if maintained could leave Microsoft without a significant answer to the iPad for roughly two and a half years after its first appearance. Chief executive Steve Ballmer tried championing Windows 7 as an early contender, but its fundamentally mouse-oriented OS led both customers and hardware partners to shy away. Windows Embedded Compact 7 adds features such as multi-touch but is mostly a stopgap measure.

Microsoft has long tried to focus on transforming traditional Windows PCs into tablets through convertible designs and shapes that are mostly netbooks without keyboards, but the company hasn't had success in the past eight years. Apple's 14.82 million iPads were enough for it to have outsold every Windows Tablet PC device ever made in nine months. Its success compared to Microsoft has mostly been credited to the truly touch-native interface, very long battery life and much lower price.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fold it up


  1. imactheknife

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RIght..and Ballmer for President!

    Don't believe the hype...

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Great Timing!

    Just in time to sell it to the dozen new schools that will be opening up in August 2012.

  1. Jeff Simpson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And In Related News....

    ...Adam says he soon will have real heart-to-heart with Eve about that apple-eating incident, claiming this is the quick take-charge response one expects from a leader of his caliber.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft is in full retreat.

    If Ballmer really were serious about beating Apple in the pad computing space, he would have committed enormous resources to the task. He might have even bet the company's future on an original touch-computing OS that would eventually replace WIndows.

    Didn't happen. Ballmer is going to milk captive corporate IT departments for all they're worth. They are locked in, just the way Microsoft wants them. They can't afford to re-train their admins and employees to use a whole new OS. But guess what. That locks Microsoft into backward compatibility. They can't afford to take any risks. They don't want to diminish their core business. That's why Ballmer would prefer not to succeed in anything other than Windows + Office.

    Microsoft is doomed to the same fate as other tech companies that couldn't move beyond legacy technology. Burroughs, Sperry-Univac, NCR, Control Data, Honeywell, Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, ad nauseam. Sure, Windows + Office is still profitable. And sure, you can still technically live and breathe even though you're brain dead. Windows + Office is the heart-lung machine keeping the old corpse alive.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just one word

    6 letters, begins with "F", ends with "ED".

    If windows 8 is late, it will be pushed over into 2013.

    You heard it here first.

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