(Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

(Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

Summary: It's (not so) crazy Microsoft rumors time again. Today's single-sourced -- but trusted -- tip claims that Windows 8 will RTM in April 2012.

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It's been a while since I blogged about another of my (not so) crazy Microsoft rumors. It's also been a while since I've heard any kind of an update on Windows 8 timing. In that spirit -- here's the latest, plus the ground rules for those weighing how believable this information may or may not be.

As part of my job as a full-time Microsoft watcher, I get a lot of tips about Microsoft from customers, competitors, partners and even some Softies themselves. However, ever since I worked for PCWeek as a reporter close to 20 years ago, I had it drilled into my head that until I could get three independent sources — none of whom was repeating something s/he heard in an echo chamber — to corroborate a tip, I couldn’t run it as a story.

These days, I see lots of single-sourced tips being posted by bloggers and journalists. More than a few of these are based on a single, anonymous source, with no further identification to help readers decide whether a tip is likely to be true or not. No “according to a Microsoft partner who requested anonymity.” No “so says a small-business customer angry over the latest slip-up, who asked not to be identified.” Not even a thinly veiled “according to a person who was not authorized to speak for Company X” (but did so anyway).

This lack of attribution made me crazy -- and gave me a maybe-not-so-crazy idea. A year or so ago, inspired by the “CrazyAppleRumors” folks, I bought the “CrazyMicrosoftRumors” domain name. I'm using it for a series of occasional posts here on “All About Microsoft,” where I’ll take a single-sourced tip that I can’t find two other independent sources to verify and run it as a “rumor.”

I’m not going to do this with just any old tip; I am going to pick and choose ones where I have faith in the tipster’s batting average and/or believe the tip makes a lot of sense. I will clearly label these posts as “(Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors,” so readers know exactly what they’re getting.

If you want to send along any rumor candidates, just use the e-mail form at the bottom of my blog. All tips I receive are considered confidential, so don’t worry about including your real name (if you want to do so).

And with that... on to today's tip/rumor.

Last I heard, Microsoft's goal with Windows 8 was to release to manufacturing (RTM) its next Windows release around Q2/Q3 2012, after two beta releases, plus various preview/RC drops. I'd also heard that the plan was to RTM Windows 8 for x86, Windows 8 for ARM/SoC (system on a chip) and Windows 8 Server all at the same time.

I'm now hearing there's a different timetable for Windows 8. I've received new information from a trusted source that Microsoft is actually on track to release to manufacturing all Windows 8 versions by April 2012.

I've also heard from my contact that Microsoft's game plan is to deliver a beta build-- not a pre-beta or preview -- of Windows 8 around the time of the Build conference in mid-September. This allegedly will be the one and only Windows 8 beta, my contact said. In January 2012 or thereabouts, Microsoft will deliver a final Release Candidate (RC) test build of Windows 8, my source said. (I'm now thinking that January release is the one that leaked a while back from Dell.) And the next and final milestone after RC will be RTM.

There are a few things to keep in mind here. So far, the Windows 8 team at Microsoft has said nothing about where it's at on its road to RTM. (Thanks to various leaks, we know they've basically finished the internal Milestone 3 build.) The only thing the Windows 8 leaders have offered, guidance-wise, is that Microsoft expects to deliver the final version of Windows 8 24-36 months after Windows 7. It was never clear whether the Windows brass meant two/three years after Windows 7 RTM'd or shipped, and they never clarified. (Windows 7 RTM'd in July 2009 and "launched" in October 2009.)

We also know from previous Office and Windows disclosure patterns that if/when the team does offer a target delivery date, there will likely be several months of padding built in to make sure there will be no publicly measurable slippage. As a result, I'm betting that summer 2012 RTM target we originally heard about might have included that padding, giving more credence to a real internal April 2012 RTM date.

That's all I know, at this point. April sounds better than July, especially for partners and customers trying to hold out for Microsoft to deliver an operating system that will be optimized touch tablets. And if the April 2012 RTM target turns out to be reality, there will be no question about Microsoft and its OEMs being able to deliver Windows 8 PCs and tablets in time for holiday 2012. Heck, they'll likely be ready for the back-to-school market, as well.

In spite of the ongoing Milestone build leaks, there are still lots of Windows 8 pieces that we know relatively little about. I'm curious what's coming with the next version of Windows Live Essentials and when that "Wave 5" bundle of services will hit. I'm also very interested in what Microsoft has up its sleeve, in terms of changes to Windows Update and new Web services add-ons for Windows 8. And, of course, many of us are very interested in what Microsoft plans to do on application model/developer model front with Windows 8, as well.

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

    @ MJ.

    We need another perfect storm article. But with win8 in the mix.
    Return_of_the_jedi
  • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

    So Vista will soon have another companion besides Windows ME
    shellcodes_coder
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder

      You mean that Os that has more marketshare then Osx and Linux combined ?
      sjaak327
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh or whatever your name is

        Windows phone 7 will crush your iphone, but it takes time!
        iNaiveisim is a hard thing to get rid of, just like socialism... look at our country, look at our president, enough said.
        mikroland
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder <br>Win8 will s h ! t all over your iFad I promise you that.<br><br><a
      mikroland
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @mikroland... Right. Just like Windows Phone 7 was supposed to do?<br><br>Look I will say that Windows 8 does look promising, and will probably be a smooth OS, but Apple has an entire release cycle between now and then for the iPad, and Microsoft is going to have to convince their OEM's that Windows 8 is worth putting on Slate devices to compete against the iPad, especially given that HP has already or is about to release, rather, their touchpad with WebOS on it, many other OEM's are already running with Android, RIM is out with Playbook, etc. Like it or not, Microsoft has a steep hill to climb. <br><br>The other factor is, and perhaps more importantly, will software suppliers have ports for their software written early enough to take advantage of Windows 8 on a touch only UI. And will Microsoft Deliver on the in OS store.<br><br>This and much more remains to be seen.
        Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
      • You're not quite there yet

        @Snooki_smoosh_smoosh:

        "Apple has an entire release cycle between now and then for the iPad"

        They have iOS5 and probably some minor evolutionary hardware upgrade, like more memory or a faster CPU. The iPad is already as mature as the OS allows it. Apple will likely swing back to software development for innovative features because they've already justified over and over their hardware design reasoning. Unless, of course, they lied....

        "HP has already or is about to release, rather, their touchpad with WebOS on it, many other OEM's are already running with Android"

        Let's clear something up: nobody cares about WebOS. It's a dead weight. As far as Android, there are only a couple of companies that are sticking with it: Samsung and Motorola. Outside of that, no company cares about updating the software on them so consumer satisfaction with no-name and off-brand Chinese one-offs is at an all-time low. The general census with tablet makers is that if you have an Android 2.x tablet, don't expect to get an upgrade to Honeycomb. It's funny, because this smells like a repeat of Windows Mobile.

        "RIM is out with Playbook"

        Newsflash: RIM is in the sh@tter, and analysts are calling it as a "sell". Shareholders are jumping ship because they haven't had anything innovative since, well, probably ever. The Playbook is getting returned in record numbers and sales aren't as good as the CEO had promised in the first place, which is what lead shareholders to call for his ouster. Then you have the PR disaster that is BBOS6, which is NOT the newly purchased QNX OS that RIM was going on about on the Playbook. RIM is dead in the water.

        "will software suppliers have ports for their software written early enough to take advantage of Windows 8 on a touch only UI"

        It's HTML5, which means that any web developer will already be a Windows 8 programmer.
        Joe_Raby
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @mikroland


        In response to:
        mikroland 06/27/2011 02:42 PM

        Windows phone 7 will crush your iphone, but it takes time!
        iNaiveisim is a hard thing to get rid of, just like socialism...
        look at our country, look at our president, enough said.

        ..................................................................
        This writer "thinks" he knows! There are a lot of those.
        It's as if they had a Rose up their Rose, and mud between their toes.

        Just what? Do you suppose, did he/she propose?
        I don't knowse! However, Ayn Rand asrose to dispose
        the World of such morose, as mikroland did disclose.

        Yes! Just look at our President, he is black again and not just skin,
        but what's within. How Naive of him to deal us an .....ism?

        Should he be in prison? For practicing Sociolism? That's a deep chism!
        Born of a total lack of wisdom of a governmental system...ism!

        Alas, Hold your crosses high, as the time is nigh! For an election outcry!
        We'll have a jolly ole' Fish Fry. A twenty twelve dip in batter splatter we cry.

        Honk on! Sunset,, Credits,,FADE, Spade! HONK ON!!!

        Nuf Said! Nuf Said! Nuf Said! Nuf Said! Nuf Said!

        Turn Red! RAT NOW! thenewegoostep@Turn RED! [triple pun intended]
        tegil
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

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        JodiMilade
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder [i]So Vista will soon have another companion besides Windows ME[/i]

      hahahaha... roflmbo.... wow, that sure was a funny one.... 4 years ago.
      Badgered
    • They wanted to name it 'Windows_shellcodes_coder'

      @shellcodes_coder
      but said that the name "shellcodes_code" was already attched to a failure.

      Copyright infringement and all, you understand.
      Will Pharaoh
    • This Is The (Real) Rumor

      Windows 8 is Windows 7 with a new paint job. Not much "really" new in it. But millions of suckers (maybe not all the Vista buyers) will shell out for it and that means big bucks for Billy and the boys so why not get it out there ASAP.
      dhamilt01@...
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @dhamilt01@...
        Oh you mean like all the tards that upgraded from Tiger to Lion?
        Gotta have that new QT icon!
        Z3R0D4Y
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @dhamilt01@... <br><br>It's a LOT more than that. Completely redone UI and UI engine, HTML 5 and JavaScript as first class development tools, completely redone touch APIs, ARM support. Your statement simply ignores reality.
        Heatlesssun
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @dhamilt01@...
        "Mossberg: This seems to me, like, the biggest change in the user interface of Windows I can remember.
        Larson-Green, nodding: Since Windows 95."

        Whilst the focus in Windows 8 has undoubtedly been more on the UI side (IMO), you would be wrong in saying that was the only change (ARM, boot optimisations, new Application platform).
        I'm having trouble reasoning with some of the comments made... The biggest change in Windows (ever or since 95), the whole UI re-designed, from scratch, and people are saying it is a paint job. That's like saying that the iOS is MacOSX with a new paint job.
        xnederlandx
      • Message has been deleted.

        bobkemp2123@...
      • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

        @Heatlesssun@... <br>Complete redo of UI etc. Ya mean that millions of users will once again have to learn Windows from scratch all over again for the zillionth time? How much productivity loss will it cost this time?<br>I'd go for Windows 7 as is but ... a brand new more efficient and searchable File System like they promised for Vista but never delivered. With terabyte drives an everyday thing now, NTFS doesn't cut it anymore, especially if you have billions of files on the drive. Searches take hours instead of seconds.
        dhamilt01@...
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder
      "Windows 8 extends these innovations and reimagines every level of the Windows architecture ? the kernel, networking, storage, devices, user interface ? all building on the broadest and richest ecosystem of software, peripherals and devices." Julie Larson-Green

      No, Windows 8 is more than just an innovative new UI over Windows 7.
      JAlva05
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder ME was FAR FAR worse than Vista. You cannot even compare the two.
      Tommy S.
    • RE: (Not so) Crazy Microsoft Rumors: Windows 8 to RTM in April 2012

      @shellcodes_coder - I was thinking the same thing. With all of the GUI enhancements, I hope Win 8 is not a bloated whale.
      ITGrouch