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.