By Harry McCracken | Monday, July 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm
ZDnet’s Mary Jo Foley is reporting on a rumor: Microsoft may be trying to finish up work on Windows 8 by April of next year. She thinks it’s plausible–or at least not obviously crazy. Me, too. For one thing, the conventional wisdom that the OS is likely to show up for the holiday 2012 season is, as far as I know, based more on history than on anyone knowing anything specific about Windows 8. For another, Microsoft has a huge incentive to get this thing out the door–not so much for its PC business, but for tablets, where it’s not yet really in the game and won’t be until Windows 8 is available. And Steven Sinofksy, the Microsoft exec in charge of Windows, has a pretty good track record for exceeding expectations when it comes to shipping products in a timely fashion. (Enough so that I think that anyone who parrots the classic “Microsoft never gets anything out the door” meme hasn’t been paying attention over the past few years.)
We should have a better sense of when Windows 8 is likely to show up once Microsoft holds its BUILD conference in September. That’s when the company will probably release some sort of preview or beta edition of the new OS and talk a little more about its timetable, without revealing all.
Me, I vote for Microsoft taking its own sweet time. A bunch of companies have already proven that it’s a bad idea to rush out devices based on tablet operating systems that aren’t fully cooked yet. And with the possible exception of Samsung, no company has established itself as a serious ongoing competitor to the iPad. Which means that a wonderful Windows 8 that appears late in 2012 might have a better chance of being a big deal than a so-so one that makes a surprisingly early debut.