Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division in Japan, said on Tuesday at a Windows developer event in Tokyo that the company plans to release its Windows 8 Release Preview to the public in early June. This near-finished version will be the last public release of the boxy new Windows installment until it goes retail later this year.
Microsoft's release schedule for Windows 8 is similar to the one seen with Windows 7 even though officials have claimed that the newer OS isn't following the same timeline. Back in July 2009, Microsoft released the Windows 7 Beta and then reached the Release Candidate status in May. The RTM version was ready by July, leading up to the official Windows 7 retail launch in October 2009.
So far Windows 8 is following in the same footsteps. The public Windows 8 beta (Consumer Preview) was released in February 2012, and now Microsoft plans to follow up with the Windows 8 Release Candidate (Release Preview) in early June. The new touchy Metro-themed OS is expected to go RTM in July or August, and land on store shelves this October. Naturally the last two dates are mere speculation.
Just last week Microsoft revealed that Windows 8 will come in only four flavors after much speculation about the eventual SKUs: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows RT for ARM-based SoCs, and Windows Server 2012 for businesses and enterprises.
A chart provided by Microsoft here shows the difference between the three consumer versions, revealing that Windows RT -- formerly Windows on ARM -- lacks the ability to install x86/64 and desktop software, but provides device encryption. Yet it's extremely similar in features when compared to the standard Windows 8 although it won't support Storage Spaces and Windows Media Player.
Unfortunately, Sinofsky didn't go into details regarding the upcoming Release Preview or anything taking place thereafter. However the company previously said that it plans to share much more information about Windows 8 in the coming months, "including details on pricing and limited-time programs and promotions that we will make available to customers."
Last week during its earnings report, Microsoft said that it delivered a strong third quarter thanks to its enterprise software. The company reported earnings of $5.11 billion on revenue of $17.41 billion, or rather 60 cents a share. Wall Street was actually expecting Microsoft to report of earning 57 cents a share on revenue of $17.18 billion.