Slides apparently displayed at Microsoft's Professional Developers' Conference (PDC) showed that the successor of the just-launched Windows 7, Windows 8, is expected to be released in 2012.
The slides, which bore the title "Windows Server Release Cadence" and were leaked by Stephen Chapman of Microsoft Kitchen, show that the next major Windows operating system would appear in three years' time and that Windows 8 is still only a codename.
Note that this was for server OS and not for desktop or mobile versions. However, given the propensity of Microsoft of releasing new versions of the OS at the same time, it will not be surprising if this is the case in the year of the London Olympics (or when Armageddon strikes).
Microsoft has managed to decrease the time to market slightly, going from five years from Server 2003 to Server 2008, to four years with the Server 2012 iteration.
The slides did not provide with more information over the possibility of having 128-bit compatibility but complement the glimpses of information already available on the internet. Planning for Windows 8 is already well under way as revealed by Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer during a visit back in October in London.
Windows 8 will be facing increasing competition from various forms of Linux (Ubuntu, Android) but also the desktop environment as a whole will be challenged by mobile devices, let loose by the lack of wires, better autonomy and improved User Interfaces.