It was just before midnight last night that I caught up on the news that Microsoft had demonstrated the new Windows 8 UI at the D9 conference (liveblog and video here). The demo’s were slick, and Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky did a great job under pressure, handling Walt Mossberg’s pointed questions with aplomb. I sent him a congratulatory email afterward.
One question left unanswered by Sinofsky was the intended ship date for Windows 8. At best, he offered that Windows operating systems generally ship every 3 to 4 years. My bet is that Windows 8 is going to manufacturing in June of 2012. Why? In Redmond’s playbook:
- Serious public displays of important Windows operating systems usually start about a year before the ship date. The goal is to build a wave of demand around launch. The first public demos of Windows 8 were at the Mix’11 conference in mid-April, where Dean Hachamovich showed IE 10 running on Windows 8. Yesterday’s public demo of the new UI at D9 is another the next step in the demand building strategy.
- Large scale professional developers conferences are usually held in the fall of the year before a major Windows release. Developers need time to build products to target the platform, and Microsoft wants them to ship their products when Microsoft is ready with its own. In April Microsoft also announced the next PDC will be Sept 13, 2011 in Anaheim California.
- Operating systems releases targeted at consumers generally go to manufacturing no later than June of the year in which they ship. This is to allow hardware manufacturers to target the fall sales season – back to school, followed by Christmas – which is the busiest consumer buying cycle of the year in the PC world.
Microsoft is clearly targeting May / June 2012 for release to manufacturing. And, given how Apple and Google are gobbling up market share in the tablet space, it seems clear that Microsoft has no choice but to meet that date.
Any bets on the exact date?
- Watch Steven Sinofsky show off Windows 8 at D9 [Video] (winextra.com)
- Walt Mossberg: Windows 8 is the biggest change to Windows ever (venturebeat.com)
- Microsoft Offers First Sneak Peek of Windows 8 [VIDEO] (mashable.com)
- Microsoft shows off Windows 8′s tablet UI (thenextweb.com)
- Windows 8 to RTM in 2012 (mydigitallife.info)