In a speech that’s caused quite a stir amid Microsoft aficionados, CEO Steve Ballmer made remarks at a developers’ conference in Japan on May 23rd by referring to the next-gen of their OS “Windows 8” as appearing next year. However, shortly after news broke about his words, Microsoft swiftly backtracked and said that the next-gen of their Windows OS will not be appearing in 2012, but instead he was referring to anticipated hardware.
“It appears there was a misstatement,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. “We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.”
The reaction of technology media to this appears to be mixed, but largely the emotion threading through much of it is confusion. Outlets such as ZDNet picked up the mention of “Windows 8” directly from Ballmer’s speech and ran with it expecting that his message was straightforward; whereas PC Magazine approaches the question as to if Windows 8 is coming in 2012 or not.
Of course, the transcript itself has him telling us that we should expect to hear a lot about Windows 8 over the next year—but perhaps we should just expect a lot of hype about it’s production and not that it’s arriving next year.
“We’re obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows. Windows 7 PCs will sell over 350 million units this year. We’ve done a lot in Windows 7 to improve customer satisfaction. We have a brand new user interface. We’ve added touch, and ink, and speech. And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there’s a whole lot more coming. As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors.”
Looking at his speech it does seem like he might be speaking about two different things at the same time. It’s just not obvious that Windows 8 isn’t the “next-gen Windows systems.” Instead, Microsoft has come out to make sure the media didn’t jump all over the possibility we’d be seeing a brand new Windows OS technology. To them, it seems we’ll probably be seeing a service pack for Windows 7 instead as technology advances to support bigger-and-badder elements for the OS.
Windows 8 rumors given form
Speculation and rumors about Windows 8 proper have been with us for months now, with the advent of leaks about the next-gen OS as far back as March. Alongside the announcement in Japan, it might have seemed like justification for expectations that Microsoft then yanked the rug out from under with notable speed.
Other speculations have surrounded the possibility of a Windows Store being related to Windows 8 and more details on the subject. Amid other app stores appearing in the ecology Microsoft might want to get on that bandwagon, but we might still see it with the Windows 7 updates in 2012 (psst as they’re not Windows 8.)
So. No Windows 8 in 2012. Not exactly the end of the world; but it is a little disappointing nonetheless.