Windows 8 is on track to be finished this summer and launched "around October," according to a Bloomberg report.
Microsoft's newest operating system will be released this fall for both Intel x86 systems and ARM devices, according to the report. A Windows 8 launch in October would benefit Microsoft's effort to get into the tablet game by the holiday season and gain ground on Apple's iPad and the bevy of Google Android tablets on the market.
A fall release for Windows 8 makes sense considering the operating system's recent progress. The Windows 8 Consumer Preview was released last month to somewhat mixed reviews (check out the CRN Test Center review of the latest Windows 8 build). The software giant previously had released a developer build in September, and a number of products -- from Ultrabooks to tablets -- at CES 2012 were running early versions of Windows 8.
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Bloomberg also reported that Microsoft has scheduled an event next month for industry partners to communicate its strategy for Windows 8 and offer more details on marketing and shipping timetables.
Windows 8 is arguably Microsoft's most pivotal operating system release in more than a decade; not only is the product drastically different from a design standpoint (incorporating a touch-screen user interface) but it also represents Microsoft's latest effort to recapture momentum in the fast-growing mobile device market, now dominated by Apple and Google.
The new operating system also represents a major shift for Microsoft, embracing ARM's processor architecture and branching out beyond the x86 platform.
Despite the mixed review for the consumer build, interest in Windows 8 appears to be quite high. Microsoft said earlier this month that the Windows 8 Consumer Preview saw 1 million downloads in its first 24 hours.