Photo: Illustration: Ellis Hamburger
Microsoft revealed a lot more information about Windows 8 at its Build developer conference today, and overall it looks pretty impressive — it’s got a slick interface, support for future-looking hardware features like NFC chips and touch screens, and lots of neat treats for developers, which should mean a bunch of good apps. The early reviews are positive — and this is just a pre-release version.So when can we get it?
Microsoft wouldn’t say, but it’s going to be at least a year away.
Windows chief Steve Sinofsky said that the release is going to be “quality driven” rather than “date driven” and laid out the same set of steps that Windows 7 went through.
There’s a developer pre-release version available today. That’s probably going to be somewhat buggy and not feature-complete, but good enough for developers to get started.
With Windows 7, that pre-release version came out in October 2008. Windows 7 became available just over a year later, in November 2009.
So look for Windows 8 in fall 2012. Or, if something goes wrong, early 2013.
That means Windows 8 won’t help Microsoft’s current fiscal year. And it might hurt, as companies and consumers put off PC purchases in anticipation of the new OS. It also gives the iPad another year or more to steal more PC market share.
Microsoft is holding its annual Financial Analysts Meeting tomorrow to coincide with Build (in the past, it’s always come in July, right after the end of the company’s fiscal year). Look for this to be a big topic of discussion.
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