In what was obviously an accidentally posted blog entry, Microsoft Windows VP Chuck Chan revealed that Windows 8 would be released later today. The post, visible for only two minutes, was spotted by Australian developer Jose Fajardo and then widely disseminated across many Windows-focused blogs, was from a new developer blog focused on device driver development.
In the post, Microsoft indicated that the Release Preview for Windows 8 will be released on May 31st, along with a new device driver development kit and the release candidate of the new version of Microsoft's developer tools, Visual Studio 2012 (known until now as Visual Studio 11). Visual Studio 2012 will also include the Windows 8 SDK, enabling developers to write both desktop and Metro-style applications for the new operating system. Availability of the Release Preview comes exactly a year after the President of Microsoft's Windows division, Steven Sinofsky, unveiled the Windows 8 Metro user interface at the D9 conference.
Links in the blog post aren’t yet live, and the post indicates that Microsoft will be increasing its developer outreach for Windows 8 with the launch of a new Windows Dev Center web site, and a regular series of blog posts on application and driver development for the new operating system. Chan's post notes "The people contributing to this blog are the engineers building Windows 8 and the tools and kits that support it. Our goal is to help you get started by focusing on the “why” and “how” of building amazing PCs and device experiences for Windows 8."
Recent blog posts from Microsoft have pointed to new features in the Windows 8 Release Preview, including new applications to complement the bundled tools and an improved multi-monitor experience. Other posts have indicated that development is still continuing, and that the Release Preview will not have the final Windows 8 look and feel. While much of Microsoft's plans for the release of Windows 8 remains secret, recent leaks have included a $15 upgrade fee to the Windows 8 Pro SKU for Windows 7 devices sold from June 2012.
The final version of Windows 8 is still expected to be released in the second half of 2012, in time for holiday sales.