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A leaked release schedule from Microsoft shows Windows 8 possibly arriving in 2011.  (Source: MSDN Blogs; Chris Green (former Microsoft developer))
Microsoft has plenty to feel good about these days

Microsoft struggled under a negative public image during the Vista years.  However, the work it did would help to lay the foundation for Windows 7, perhaps Microsoft's most popular operating system to date.  The new OS, which was released last October, was extremely well received thanks in part to an unprecedented public test program that saw millions download free trial builds of early versions of the OS and suggest ways Microsoft could improve it.

Now Windows 7 has hit a market share of 10 percent according to market research firm Net Applications.  To put those gains in context, Windows Vista did not hit over 10 percent until May 2008 – what took Windows Vista 16 months to achieve, Windows 7 did in a mere 5 months.

Currently, Windows Vista has around a 20 percent market share, while the nine-year-old Windows XP holds 60 to 70 percent market share.

Despite the emphatic success of Windows 7, the fastest selling OS in history, Microsoft is hard at work improving the operating system and its successors  Microsoft is reportedly readying Windows 7 Service Pack 1 for a June 2010 beta release and a September 2010 final release.  The SP1 will bring out of the box support for USB 3.0, one of the most exciting new computer technologies.

And according to Chris Green, a former Microsoft developer, Microsoft is already hard at work on the best-selling operating system's successor, code named Windows 8.  The next-gen Windows may be released on July 2011.  He leaked an entire release schedule which includes the upcoming Office 2010 and its successor Office 2012.

Microsoft also had some other good news to report.  In January 2010, Internet Explorer 8 became the world's most used browser, passing IE 6.  IE 8 currently has about a 22.31 percent market share worldwide.  Internet Explorer 8's gains have been partially fueled by Windows 7's success -- IE 8 is the default browser on the U.S. edition of the OS.  

IE 8 also has benefited from a recent push by Microsoft to get users away from IE 6 and IE 7, both of which have a flaw that was exploited by Chinese hackers to steal corporate data.  Microsoft is urging users to upgrade to the new browser.  Amazingly 20.07 percent of users in January still used IE 6 (many of these were likely business users).  Google recently announced that it would be phasing out support for IE 6.

Microsoft appears to be firing on all cylinders.  If it can continue its momentum with the release of Office 2010 later this year, it should be in a very favorable position at the year's end.

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Mid 2011?
By Aloonatic on 2/3/2010 9:40:32 AM , Rating: 3
The next-gen Windows may be released on July 2011
This is great news. A Beta or Release Candidate may even be ready before the RC of Win 7 runs out :)

Seriously though, it seems that MS may well be in danger of being lead by it marketing/sales department into releasing products more often in order to maximise their earning potential. While there's essentially nothing wrong with a company doing that, they may well start to find people getting somewhat annoyed by this, and as other Operating Systems come along (with mobile OSs creeping into the computing space, Apple iPad for example, and Google aren't going to sit on their hands with Android) it might be something that MS ultimately regret.

Who knows, just a thought. Maybe MS see this trend too and are making hay, before the competition hots up.

RE: Mid 2011?
By Spivonious on 2/3/10, Rating: -1
RE: Mid 2011?
By Kepe on 2/3/2010 10:01:08 AM , Rating: 2
The dates are in D/M/YY, not in M/D/YY. So the Office should be RTM on the first of June, 2010.

M$ used to launch a new operation system every 2 to 3 years. There just was a huge gap between XP and Vista. Now they seem to be back on track with their launch cycle.

RE: Mid 2011?
By weskurtz0081 on 2/3/2010 10:17:00 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, competition to MS is increasing a bit from companies like Appl€ and Googl€, so it's probably a good thing that they are stepping the game back up.

RE: Mid 2011?
By Mitch101 on 2/3/2010 3:42:46 PM , Rating: 3
The problem came from other OS's catching up on Microsoft's OS. They would boast how they had this feature also and some new ones that were already in development for Microsoft's next OS. By Microsoft going to a 3 year product cycle and only supporting current and previous gen people need to upgrade and Microsoft doesn't have to support an OS older than 6 years. It also keeps the competition from being able to catch up and pass a 7 year old OS.

RE: Mid 2011?
By Spivonious on 2/3/2010 4:31:17 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, I see what you did there. Clever.

RE: Mid 2011?
By ultimatebob on 2/3/2010 10:02:11 AM , Rating: 3
Does anyone know if Windows 8 is going to be a "major" new version release like Windows Vista (version 6), or a point release like Windows 7 (version 6.1)?

If "Windows 8" is really just Windows 6.2, they should be able to release it on-time. If it's going to be Windows version 7.0, they'll probably run into the same delays that they ran into like Vista.

RE: Mid 2011?
By sviola on 2/3/2010 12:08:33 PM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know if Windows 8 is going to be a "major" new version release like Windows Vista (version 6), or a point release like Windows 7 (version 6.1)?

You know MS launched 7 as 6.1 due to software compatibility, right?

RE: Mid 2011?
By Mitch101 on 2/3/2010 3:49:40 PM , Rating: 3
I do but who cares except Microsoft haters? Vista worked well for me and Windows 7 was just that much better. If they are too busy focusing on versions they have run out of excuses to complain about. Might as well complain about the default desktop wallpaper.

RE: Mid 2011?
By jonmcc33 on 2/3/2010 12:41:24 PM , Rating: 3
Windows 7 is just a name. It is not a point release either. The 6.1 indicates what version of NT it is. Windows 2000 is NT version 5.0 and Windows XP is NT version 5.1. Windows XP surely wasn't a "point release" of Windows 2000 by any means. If you had used either extensively then you would know that.

A point release is for something that fixes minor bugs. Windows 7 surely is NOT a minor bug fix for Windows Vista. Anyone that has used either extensively would know that too.

RE: Mid 2011?
By 91TTZ on 2/5/2010 5:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually Windows XP is based heavily on Windows 2000. The difference between Windows 2000 and XP is a lot smaller than the difference between Windows NT 4 and Windows 2000.

Drivers for Windows 2000 usually worked for Windows XP.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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