updated 12:00 am EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
Windows 8 now almost done
Windows division head Steven Sinofsky used a Japanese Developer Days presentation to reveal that a release candidate version of Windows 8 is due in early June. Billing it as a "release preview," he had it shipping just over three months after the Consumer Preview from late February. What if anything would change between builds wasn't mentioned, but it's expected to focus on polish and minor additions.
Having a release candidate, or a version that could potentially be stamped as the finished release if no significant bugs are found, puts Microsoft on track to ship Windows 8 to manufacturing in the summer. The timing supports repeated rumors of a launch in October or close by, as it usually takes two or three months from the release to manufacturing to build up enough supply and get PCs in stores with the new OS.
Windows 8 is likely to ship just two months after OS X Mountain Lion and will show a much more divergent strategy between Microsoft and Apple. While both are trying to introduce mobile elements to the desktop, Apple is still basing the core of OS X on desktop interface concepts while leaving tablets to iOS. Microsoft is trying to make Windows 8 both its tablet and desktop interface and, even on regular desktops, will steer users to an interface normally designed for touch.
The "no compromise" strategy from Microsoft should deliver on time, but it has created concerns that Windows 8 might alienate corporate buyers who would have to retrain on a new interface as well as desktop users who may have to jump back and forth between the traditional desktop and Windows 8's new interface, Metro. [via AllThingsD]