Microsoft CEO finally talks Windows 8, slates it for 2012

By on May 24, 2011, 10:01 AM

For the first time, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer referred to the next version of Windows as "Windows 8" – it was during remarks at a Microsoft Developer Forum in Japan, as opposed to an official press event for Windows, but it's still worth noting. Furthermore, Ballmer specifically said the next generation of Windows systems will be out next year.

We've been referring to Windows 7's successor as Windows 8 for a long time now, so many might think this isn't a big deal, but it is. Microsoft has made a point never to refer to the next version of Windows as Windows 8, and has instead publicly called it "Windows Next" or the "next generation of Windows." The company has also refused to give a timeframe for a release date, merely saying that it won't come sooner than three years after the release of Windows 7 (October 22, 2009).

Here is the relevant quote from Ballmer, courtesy of Microsoft's own transcript:

We're obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows. Windows 7 PCs will sell over 350 million units this year. We've done a lot in Windows 7 to improve customer satisfaction. We have a brand new user interface. We've added touch, and ink, and speech. And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.

To make things a bit more interesting, Microsoft is saying Ballmer made a mistake. "It appears there was a misstatement," a Microsoft spokesperson told ZDNet. "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."

In other words, despite what Ballmer said, Microsoft is still not ready to announce the name of Windows 7's successor, or when it will arrive. It's still very probable that Ballmer's statement was accurate, but to what extent we'll have to wait a little while longer.

Windows 8 build 7850, the first leaked Windows 8 build, hit the Internet last month. It was quickly followed by Windows 8 Build 7955 a few weeks later. Windows Server 8 build 7959 then leaked earlier this month.

If you see a download claiming to be newer than build number 7959, be careful as it is likely bogus and probably contains malware. We may not see new leaks for a while given that Microsoft is rumored to have recently fired two employees for this exact reason.

Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will support Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. Although a rumor suggests that Windows 8 will arrive on January 7, 2013, we expect that the operating system will ship in time for the 2012 holiday season.




User Comments: 7

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm predicting a bust with Windows 8. People seem very content with Windows 7, the release is way too soon after Windows 7, and from what I've heard about the upgrades, they're not that big of a deal. Most are already handled by various free or low-cost 3rd party apps.

Oh yeah, they're also going to incorporate the ribbon menus in the UI which I absolutely detest and seems like most of my friends do too.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

And for the average Joe and Jane User, the Ribbon UI has been more or less a hit primarily because it is a more visual component rather than a list component. Then you have touch capable environments which they hope to cater to, and in my experience I think it is much easier to use than your standard drop down menu.

Whether or not Win8 will be as sucessful as Win7 or will "flop" like Vista, I haven't a clue.

killeriii said:

i haven't met anyone yet who prefers the ribbon UI.

i got a free copy of office 2010 with a new computer. after using it for a few days, i downgraded back to 2007.

i found the new UI took more steps to get what i wanted done. tasks like importing from a scanner became an adventure.

this kinda sounds like what MS did with WHS by removing drive extender. just doesn't make a lot of sense.

maybe they're taking a page from apples playbook by telling us what we need.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm...I can't see myself going for Windows 8 even if it is still a year away. Win 7's doing a top job, and i can't really see what new "things" can come along for me to open my wallet.

...I think i'll go for the "Vista" camp and say it's gunna probably dive.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

2012 is bit early, they should post pone it to late 2013 or early 2014 and take that time to actually work on new features which actually count.

As Tom already said, W7 released recently, unless W8 will be really good I doubt many people will switch over to it.

Like MMO's rushed products, release it and its not finished...

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

killeriii said:

i haven't met anyone yet who prefers the ribbon UI.

i got a free copy of office 2010 with a new computer. after using it for a few days, i downgraded back to 2007.

i found the new UI took more steps to get what i wanted done. tasks like importing from a scanner became an adventure.

this kinda sounds like what MS did with WHS by removing drive extender. just doesn't make a lot of sense.

maybe they're taking a page from apples playbook by telling us what we need.

And I know an office of about 40 people (except one curmudgeon) that are generally accepting the Ribbon UI. Most of them stopped complaining about not being able to find random things after about a month into deploying Office 2007. A number actually prefer the Ribbon even, but this is also an office that uses mostly keyboard shortcuts and macros, so I guess always searching for something is not done.

I personally have no preference. I am completely at home with the Ribbon; likewise a standard list menu is second nature to me. I guess I'm just one of those strange ones since I think it may be different, but it's just as good (not necessarily better mind you). *shrug*

Guest said:

Dear Mr Windows

could you pls include a gaming mode....

to be able to reboot into a gameing mode where internet browsing , xfire, and games o/c ........... simple and stable .... !!

i would happily pay an extra 10% for this amazing feature

yours respectfully ..... mat 2 (fking) T

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