Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

Summary: It's that time again. The Windows 8 beta, er, Consumer Preview will be ready in late February. Think you can guess what's next? Cast your vote in the Windows 8 Release Schedule Prediction Pool.

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I'm officially announcing the opening of the Windows 8 Release Schedule Pool.

Where does the time go? Has it really been three years since the last one? Yikes.

The Windows 8 beta will be available in late February, says Microsoft.  They have said so repeatedly, in fact. At CES, I lost count of the number of times I heard the phrase "late February," in Steve Ballmer's keynote address and in one-on-one conversations with various Microsoft employees. (My colleague Mary Jo Foley says the beta will be called the Consumer Preview edition, and her reasoning makes sense.)

The fact that everyone is staying so tightly on message about the timeframe indicates a high level of confidence in that date. This is a leap year, so the public could be forced to wait until the 29th. But I'm putting my money on Monday, February 20, and gearing up accordingly.

Guessing the date when you'll be able to download the beta shouldn't be too hard. So let's raise the stakes a bit.

After the beta comes a single release candidate, followed by a release to manufacturing, and finally by general availability. That's the roadmap Steven Sinofsky laid out last September at the BUILD conference, adding:

We are going to focus our team, and our energy on first delivering the beta for everybody, and that will be a beta, which is designed for more broad use. And we're going to be driven by the quality and not by a date.

Note: I am talking about the x86/x64 product only. I expect the ARM version to be tied to hardware and probably not available for download. That's a subject (and a prediction pool) for another post.

So go ahead and take your best shot. What do you think the Windows 8 schedule will look like?

For reference, here were the corresponding dates for Windows 7. Note that these are the dates when the public (or some segment of it) was officially able to download the corresponding release from Microsoft's servers:

  • Beta: January 7, 2009
  • Release candidate (RC): May 5, 2009
  • Release to manufacturing (RTM): August 6, 2009
  • General availability (GA): October 22, 2009

Rules are the usual: Post in the Talkback section below. You need to pick a specific month and date for each milestone. In case of a tie, the earlier comment wins. All entries must be submitted by the end of the day on February 14.

Here are my guesses, to get it started. Remember, these are the dates when the actual code itself is available to the public (or a segment of the public, such as MSDN and TechNet subscribers and Volume License customers)

  • Beta – Feb 20
  • RC – June 5
  • RTM – August 23
  • GA – October 25

Right now the Windows 8 schedule is running about six weeks behind the Windows 7 pace. But I suspect the gap between RTM and GA can be cut considerably, because OEM partners are better prepared for this release. The current crop of Ultrabooks, for example, should be ideal candidates for Windows 8.

Leave your guesses below. Winner gets bragging rights and any swag I can rustle up.

Go.

Here's how it went last time around:

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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Talkback

42 comments
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  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    I'm predicting the CONSUMER PREVIEW will be the week of February 20th and Win8 will RTM July 12th 2012, durring the Microsoft World Partner Conference 2012. (And July 12th is my birthday, so it's lucky)
    darrenwbaker
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    I think the Beta will be pretty feature-complete with no major changes coming to the RC, unless there's a large amount of criticism because of some of the new UI choices/gimmicks compared to earlier versions of Windows. I think Microsoft wants this out of the door fast and my schedule has a smaller gap between RC and RTM,:

    Beta ??? Feb 20
    RC ??? June 2
    RTM ??? July 16
    GA ??? August 27 (Heavy back-to-school marketing?)

    Too sunny?
    kyeahy
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    RTM on 8/24
    GA on 10/26
    fswgm
  • Think different

    Beta General Test ??? Feb 25
    RC ??? NO
    RTM ??? May 4
    GA ??? June 5
    dovella
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Well going by the Windows 7 release schedule, the public beta was made available roughly 9 months before the GA/retail release (not RTM). So I'm going to go with:<br><br>Feb 25th: Public Beta<br>Aug 22nd: RTM<br>Nov 22nd: GA/Retail release
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Consumer Preview: Feb 22 (or 23)
    "Next" Preview: May 30
    RTM: July 24
    GA: August 17-18.

    hopefully its released magically before though ;) even if MS has to work 24/7 lol
    i want to get win8 now!!
    Emi Cyberschreiber
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    CPR: February
    RTM: July 5
    GAV: August 16
    FremyCompany
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Beta ??? Feb 27
    RC ??? June 25
    RTM ??? August 15
    GA ??? October 15
    What_the
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Ed, per our Twitter conversation -

    "Beta" - Late Feb
    "RC" - Middle of April
    RTM - Late May/Early June
    GA - Mid to Late July

    I'm probably being overly optomistic ... my dates are based on MS not wanting to miss another back-to-school season. That being said, they might just write that off and focus on making holiday 2012. If that's the case, it will probably follow your timeline pretty closely.
    sirtwist99
    • Sorry, specific dates required

      @sirtwist99

      Your thoughts are noted, but your vote won't be recorded unless you put down specific dates!
      Ed Bott
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    ???Beta ??? Feb 27
    ???RC ??? April 26
    ???RTM ??? June 22
    ???GA ??? October 25
    awhiler
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    I love these kind of pools.

    Beta - Feb 22
    RC - May 29
    RTM - August 30
    GA - Oct 31 (spooky)
    Length - 19.5"
    Weight - 9 lbs., 12 oz.

    By the way, they may have to induce to make that GA date. :-)
    treestman
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Consumer Preview - February 22, 2012
    Business/Enterprise Preview - May 22, 2012
    RTM - July 17, 2012
    GA - October 16, 2012

    I should state that I don't think that Windows 8 is running behind as much as Microsoft has to be ready for the biggest test of its cloud infrastructure ever. Just like MobileMe and iCloud had it's problems, so to will Windows Live.
    Jeff Kibuule
    • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

      @dagamer34 Why do you expect problems with Windows Live, it is already up and running?
      grayknight-22253692004129760887070084760051
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    The Windows 7 release date durations IMO mean very little for Windows 8. All of the really hard work for Windows 7 was done with Windows Vista.<br><br>Windows 8 will not only require major changes to Windows including supporting two platforms, Intel and ARM, but also to it's flagship apps such as Microsoft Office, Project and Visio. Assuming that these apps will run on multi-touch tablets and are released concurrently with Window 8.<br><br>GA - early 2013 (let's say 1/18/2013)
    Rabid Howler Monkey
    • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

      @Rabid Howler Monkey

      Agreed, expect a bumpy ride for ARM.
      Alan Smithie
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    I also predict that OEMs will target Back to school sales as including a free or miniscule cost to upgrade to Windows 8. The big push will be for Christmas sales.<br><br> Beta Feb 23<br> RC June 15<br> RTM August 15<br> GA October 12
    Corrine | SecurityGarden
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    My guess:

    Beta(CP) - Feb 20
    RC - May 28
    RTM - July 12
    GA - September 17
    ron@...
  • RE: Cast your vote in the Windows 8 release schedule prediction pool

    Beta - Feb 26
    RC - May 27
    RTM - July 22
    GA - October 1
    dl_ionescus
  • 2 inaccuracies

    1. It's going to be called "Consumer Preview", not "Customer Preview".
    2. Windows 7 RTM was in July 2009, not August 2009.
    xp-client