Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was speaking at a developer forum event in Japan and made an open mention about "Windows 8," marking perhaps the first time he's publically referred to the next OS with that name.
Microsoft's own transcript that's published on its PressPass site quoted Ballmer saying:
“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.”
At first glance, it appears that Ballmer just confirmed that Windows 8 will be coming out in 2012, but a representative from the company later issued a correction to ZDNet. It read:
“It appears there was a misstatement. 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.”
Essentially, a Microsoft spokesperson just nullified any interesting "Windows 8" news from what Ballmer said. Still, it's hard to believe that Ballmer would misstate what the next version of Windows will be called, seeing that he is the CEO.