Microsoft says it started working on the Windows 8 user interface before Apple had even launched its first iPad. The insinuation is that Redmond's tile layout, which will be a major new feature in Windows 8 on tablet devices, was not influenced by Cupertino's user interface for its own tablet. That being said, the software giant admitted that its rate of execution was too slow. This isn't the first time Microsoft has announced it needs to speed up the process of moving projects from R&D to product launch, and unfortunately it likely won't be the last.

"Think about when the planning started for what you saw just the other day; all the planning, the intent, the interface design work was done before the iPad hit the market," Dan'l Lewin, corporate vice president for Strategic and Emerging Business Development at Microsoft, told TechRadar. "We know where we're going - we just have to get there faster."

The user interface in Windows 8 is heavily influenced by the Metro UI used in Windows Phone 7, but it's not the only thing that Windows 8 will be borrowing from its smartphone counterpart. Earlier this month, we learned Microsoft is planning to build Xbox Live into Windows 8.

Microsoft announced earlier this year that Windows 8 will support Intel, AMD, and ARM architectures. The company gave its first preview of Windows 8 earlier this month, showing off a new touch-oriented UI: icons are replaced by big tiles that can be customized to show live information or launch applications.

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. In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said Windows 8 is coming in 2012, but Microsoft quickly claimed this was a misstatement.