Here are the latest whisper dates for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, Office 2013

Here are the latest whisper dates for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, Office 2013

Summary: What's the latest scuttlebutt on Microsoft's slate of products and services due out this fall?


As we've known, or at least suspected, for a while now, it's going to be a busy fall for Microsoft, in terms of new product and service deliveries.


This week, the Redmondians confirmed that Windows 8 will be generally available on October 26, after being released to manufacturing by the first week of August. The Microsoft Surface RT tablet (the one based on an ARM processor that cannot run most existing Windows apps natively) also is due out October 26, too. And we also know from Microsoft disclosures a week ago that Windows Server 2012 will be released to manufacturing by the first week of August and will be generally available (GA) in September.

One of my good sources in Spain shared what he said are additional official Microsoft delivery targets with me this week. To be clear: This information is from one source only. But these jibe with previously rumored targets I've been hearing from other sources on various product due dates for a while now. With those caveats, I'm going to publish these "whisper dates," even though Microsoft isn't confirming them.

In addition to Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, here's what's coming in the next few months, according to my contact:

Latest Windows Azure updates: August (RTM); September (GA). (Note: I am thinking these updates are the ones that Microsoft announced as their Azure "spring updates" and that are available in preview form.)
Visual Studio 2012: August (RTM and Price List); September (GA)
Microsoft Dynamics NAV: September (RTM); October (GA)
Windows Phone 8: September (RTM for "Apollo" OS); November (GA for first devices)
Office 15: October (added to price list); November (RTM); February 2013 (GA)

I had heard previously some talk that Microsoft might be working to hold some kind of a "launch" where it could announce immediate availability of both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices, but based on these new dates, it looks like any kind of orchestrated launch event would seem to need to be later than October 26.  (However, for what it's worth, I also am still continuing to hear a Build 2.0 type developers conference is still happening this year, likely in October, as I've noted previously.)

Also: The new Office 15 general availability date of February 2013 meshes with an earlier leaked Microsoft roadmap about which I blogged, which indicated Microsoft will release to manufacturing all of its Office client, server and services products late this year, but make them generally available in early 2013. (I guess that means last week's rumors of a delay of Office 15 general availability until May 2013 might be off. Now I'm curious what is coming on Office 15 front in May 2013.)

A couple of updates:

First on Windows Phone 8: As one reader noted, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told the New York Times that the Windows Phone 8 software would be "released" in October.  Elop may mean Microsoft will be releasing it at that time (following a September RTM) to phone makers. Or it could mean Microsoft is going to allow Nokia to go out with Windows Phone OS 8 devices before other phone makers do in November. It's also good to remember that Microsoft can (and has) "launched" products without them actually being available to customers until some time after the "launch" event.

On Office 15, I've had a few folks ask me how the RTM date of November can be right, given that the Surface RT tablets running Office 2013 RT will be out in October. The answer: The Office 2013 RT apps on those devices will be in preview form, not final, as Microsoft officials acknowledged last month.

Topics: Microsoft, Cloud, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Mobile OS


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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  • Thanks

    Thanks MJF, and when you hear any precise details about download availability for TechNet/MSDN subscribers, that'll be great too.

    I know all the debates about Metro have dominated, but I wouldn't mind seeing an article about GUI changes in Office 2013 too, especially the too-white "snow haze" in Outlook. Everyone talks about the technical advances in Office 2013, but for end users, the GUI is far more important. Does *anyone* prefer the Outlook 2013 washed-out GUI over the richer colors in Outlook 2010?
    • white and clean ;-)

      design is proving to be the usual question of personal taste, but I very much like the less busy, clean and minimalist Outlook 2013 look (been using for ~10 days, when you use peek & inline replies, it's nice not to have the screen be busy and eye-smarting orange/grim grey.
      • I like it...

        ...but it still needs some work. The use of color is almost too subtle right now, and it's almost sterile to the point of being hard on the eyes.

        I spent over an hour the first night with the preview of Office submitting feedback points on any given items. For example, why is the notification tray icon still the 2010 icon and not the 2013 icon? Why have a notification icon at all? They totally screwed up the "To Do" pane to the point of being useless for Calendar.

        On the plus side, in-line replies are awesome, and editing PDF's in Word is freaking amazing. Adobe Acrobat can suck it!
      • It would be nice to have more themes...

        The current themes aren't grabbers . Having some more like the desktop themes in Windows 7 with solid background colors would be good. On the other hand, I like the new ribbon. It looks uncluttered, and I find that it's easier to find choices.
    • NOT...

      That I will be upgrading to 2013 at home or work (we have an EA even) but honestly I think Office uglier than Windows 8 Metro.

      If Microsoft would have given x86 users a choice to turn off Metro, I would have moved my home PC's to Windows 8 just because its cheap and it would have been something new. The Metro start screen is such a turnoff for me that I won't even consider it.

      I have upgraded to every version of Windows...from Windows 286 to Windows 7. In every version I saw a reason to upgrade....even Vista. This is the first time that I have ZERO interest. I could stay on Windows 7/Office 2010 for 5 more years to be honest.....good thing Windows 7 has support through 2020. By then I will be 52...not even close to retirement, so I will have to move off of Windows 7 at some point.

      Maybe I will win the lottery, so much so that I can quit and use nothing but a smartphone/tablet/Macbook air....once a week.
      • Power Users Lament

        I've heard this kind of sentence from more people than ever before: "I've always upgraded to new versions of Windows, but not this time."

        It's not just change aversion, I'm hearing this from IT and computer-savvy people who pretty much all upgraded, for example, to Vista when it came out, people who like new stuff in part just because it's new.

        And it's not just a mild distaste or griping about a particular feature, like how people love/hate the ribbon bar, it's more like a generalized dread about Windows 8 and Metro as a whole, it's the feeling that we are moving *backwards* in functionality and aesthetics.

        The preferences of PC users are being sacrificed on the iPad alter. Microsoft knows they have us, they know we're not going to switch to Linux or Apple, so they are free to abuse/ignore our wishes as they go after the tablet market. Tablets are the future growth market, true, but 99% of Windows users today do not have tablets, and power users will have tablets just as secondary side-kicks to their "real" computers.

        I've been running Windows 8 on my PC for months, Office 2013 for a couple days. I'll upgrade, I have to for various reasons, but this time round I really don't have much excitement about it. I mostly ignore Metro, I'll miss Aero, and I'll miss seeing colors in Outlook. What a contrast to how it was like when Win95, WinXP and Vista first came out...yes, even Vista (never thought I'd say THAT).

        I don't know how many others feel the same way, but I doubt this is a good sign for Win8 sales on PCs, or even Windows 9 on PCs. Well, on to RTM then, come what may...
  • Surface x86

    So we can expect the Surface Pro (x86) version 90 days later, right? So is that right before Christmas?
    • Actually...

      That'd give it a late January, early February release date. Probably will be to close too, if not in line with Office 2013.
  • Apollo SDK

    Mary Jo, when is the beta Apollo SDK going to be released!!!!!????
    • Rumored date for Apollo SDK

      Is before end of July... if true, that could be next week!
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Awesome

        Next week is awesome. This week would be twice as awesome.
  • Windows 8 and Phone 8 at same time.

    Wouldn't the GA in November of Windows Phone 8 be really close to the October 26th date for Windows 8? Could it be possible that the Phone is really launched about the same time?

    I would also figure the new XBox improvements from E3 would also make an appearance at this time. It would be a massive holiday launch with Windows, Windows Phone, and XBox all having something new to unleash on the masses.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Mary Jo will reveal all as it comes available.
  • I don't know about WP8...

    I think the sooner they release WP8 the better for Nokia... I really think they will be able to announce immediate availability when they launch WP8 in sept and especially since Nokia is said to be announcing something amazing Sept 7... could it be the new Nokia WP8 devices?
    • I would really love to hear what Nokia has in store for us.

      Some rumors say Nokias first high end WP8 phones wont be until Spring/March. Im really curious to hear what they may have in time for the holidays. Do you have a like to the Sept 7th info?
      Johnny Vegas
      • Tried to post it but won't let me

        Just go to wmpoweruser and scroll down. The article starts with Nokia Teasing "Something Amazing is coming..."

        I did hear about their high end in Spring also but I think that is a big mistake. My contract will end this Nov and they better have a WP8 PureView for t-mobile or else...
        • It's just a store refresh

          Nokia confirmed to AllThingsD that it's just a store refresh:

  • That's the first time I heard a Surface date

    Now, do we know when a pre-order for the surface will open up at 4 please, 1 of each color if possible.
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