updated 11:50 am EST, Wed January 27, 2010
Tentative leak has Windows 8 RTM July 2011
A new discovery of a recently-departed Microsoft employee's blog has revealed a rough version of Microsoft's roadmap for key software, including Windows 8 (PDF). If a reflection of Microsoft's tentative plans, it would have Windows 8 released to manufacturing (RTM) on July 1st, 2011, or just two years after Windows 7 was finished. Windows Server 2012 and Office 2012 would ship a year and a day later on July 2nd, 2012.
The posting would hint at Microsoft speeding up the development process for the next version of Windows. Although Windows 7 brought Microsoft back on track after Vista's delays and had it ship less than three years later, the company has rarely timed significant upgrades so closely. Windows ME was shipped two years after Windows 98 but has widely been seen as an emergency stopgap following delays in what would become Windows XP.
While the release window is likely to change, it hints at a less aggressive update than Windows 7 and also that the company is eager to close the gap with competitors like Apple, which in the interval between Vista and 7 released two significant Mac OS X updates. [via Microsoft Kitchen]