Well, Windows 7 is on store shelves and racing out the doors. So it’s time to talk about the next version of Windows, right? No one knows what the final branding is going to be like, but for now Microsoft is calling it Windows 8 – and it’s on track to come out in three short years.
While three years may not seem like much, it’s far closer to the norm for Microsoft releases than the extended gap seen between the release of Windows XP and Windows Vista—the fact that Windows 7 was pushed out the door in “just” three years is proof of that. Two slides have surfaced at the ongoing Professional Developers Conference (PDC) that Microsoft hosts; the slides discuss past and present plans for the Windows Server operating system. While Windows Server is geared toward an entirely different class of user than the traditional Windows OS, the two still share a substantial amount of code, so it’s no surprise to see Microsoft discuss OS milestones that aren’t directly related to their server product.
It seems that Microsoft is taking a note out of Intel’s playbook when it comes to planning next-generation products: this tick-tock schedule alternates major OS releases with comparatively minor updates. Still, the big news is that the slides list Windows 8 (currently just a code name) at all, let alone with a planned year. It’s not too surprising given that Microsoft has publicly expressed their commitment to a 3-year release cycle; just the same, it’s nice to see it put to paper.