Speaking at a startup launch event at Microsoft's Silicon Valley campus for the BUILD conference coming later this year in September, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President Dan'l Lewin, who handles strategic and emerging business development, has hinted at the Windows 8 release date as likely to be "early next autumn."
"We'll be in market - if you look at the crystal ball and just say what happened in the past is a reasonable indicator of what our forward looking timelines will be and just speculate - we've made the point about having a developer conference later this year, and then typically we enter a beta phase, and then in 12 months we're in the market, so let's make that assumption."
This follows a similar pattern that Microsoft followed with the development of Windows 7. The Windows 7 beta proved popular with technology enthusiasts which in turn helped to iron out small issues, creating the company's best release since Windows XP.
During his talk, Lewin also provided some insight into why tablets will be running the next version of Windows instead of the Windows Phone platform. The emphasis he claims, is on security for enterprise and the evolution of the consumer's needs. Consumer now want PC features on a tablet, rather than compromising with a more mobile platform to fit the tablet environment.
When asked Can Windows tablets can catch up with iPad and Android sales after that long? He said "I think it will just be a race once we get in the market."
Lewin also hinted at multiple tablets from PC makers rather than the single Microsoft tablet we've heard rumours about. "Clearly there'll be a great installed base of iPad and other tablet devices but it'll be incumbent on us and our hardware partners to prove those form factors and use cases, and the battle will be on in the market for what the consumers want to use."
Here's the Q& A video: