Addressing attendees at the Redmond, Wash.-based company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, Microsoft's Corporate VP of Windows Tami Reller said the company is on track to finish the final copy of Windows 8 in early August. At that time, it will ship it off to its hardware partners to implement and commercially launch by late October, she said. The OS will ship to 109 countries in 231 languages.
The company hasn't said whether the tablet version of the OS, Windows RT, will be available at that time, although Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) execs suggested last month that Windows 8 tablets based on its Snapdragon processor would come out this fall. Samsung Corp. is rumored to be among the first manufacturers to release a Windows RT around that time. (See Qualcomm Preps Snapdragon Windows RT Tablets.)
Why this matters
Launching this fall means Microsoft will make it to market in time for the important holiday-buying season, which should help its prospects. The launch could also be important in the wireless market, since many wireless operators, handset makers and, of course, Microsoft are counting on the mobile version of the OS, Windows Phone 8, to create a third, viable software ecosystem versus Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Android.
This is good news for developers, too. Windows 8 will share a common core with the mobile version, meaning developers can create cross-platform apps more easily. (See Windows Phone 8 Gets 'Common Core'.)
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