All experts are fairly certain that Microsoft will release the Windows 8 operating system in 2012, as it was confirmed by Steve Ballmer back at the Microsoft Developer forum in Tokyo in May 2011. Only the month when the company first starts shipping it is highly discussed. The majority thinks that Microsoft will reveal the Windows 8 beta during CES 2012 in January.
A leaked roadmap suggests now the following Windows 8 timeline: Windows 8 and WinStore will be revealed as betas during the CES 2012 in January. January will also see a community technology preview of an online market and the first Tango update for Microsoft's Windows Phone.
According to the roadmap, the Windows 8 release candidate will be revealed during MIX 2012 which like last year will be held in April again. The very same month will see the beta of the online market, Tango2 launch, Apollo announcement and the release of the Kinect commercial SDK.
At E3 2012 in June, Microsoft will release the Windows 8 RTM (release to manufacturing) along the Xbox SDK, Apollo SDK and 3G Kinect games.
Windows 8 will finally ship two month later in August 2012 along with the online market, Windows Phone 8 and the Xbox Store. Here are the details again in an overview:
The roadmap surprisingly does not end there. If you look further down the line you will notice several interesting release dates. Microsoft will for instance release Internet Explorer 11 during Mix 2013, Xbox Loop during the E3 2013 (the next Xbox version) and Windows 9 Developer Preview during Build 2013 (probably in September). The beta of Windows 9 is then revealed during CES 2013, the RC during Mix 2014, the RTM during Build 2014 and the final version in November 2014 along with Windows 9 Mobile and the Kinect HP2 launch.
It is interesting to see that Microsoft plans to release Windows 9 only two years after the company released Windows 8 to the public. Organizations, companies and individuals who know the release dates may be inclined to sit this one out and wait for the next release which is just around the corner. That is, if the roadmap is legit.
What's your take on the leaked roadmap? (thanks Venkat)
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