Microsoft's chief executive Steve Ballmer has indicated that the next version of Windows will arrive in 2012, only to be contradicted by the company's official press corps.
At a developer's event in Tokyo on Tuesday, Ballmer spoke about several Microsoft products before finally talking about Windows 7 and the plans for the upcoming update to the OS.
"As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming," Ballmer said, according to a Microsoft transcript. "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."
Although Microsoft has previously spoken about its work on the OS update, it has been careful not to indicate a launch timeframe or confirm the software's official name as Windows 8.
In an unusual twist, however, the software maker has distanced itself from Ballmer's comments.
"It appears there was a misstatement," Microsoft told Mary Jo Foley on ZDNet UK's sister site ZDNet.com. "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."
The confusion may be cleared up next week, when Windows unit president Steven Sinofsky takes the stage at the D: All Things Digital conference. Sinofsky is being widely tipped to make the first public airing of Windows 8 at the conference.