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Windows 8, Microsoft's upcoming successor to Windows 7, will launch in 2012 according to a leak from Microsoft Netherlands.  (Source: Oxenti)

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer insists that Windows 8 is his company's riskiest product, riskier even that its smart phone efforts. He would not say why, though.  (Source: Associated Press)
Microsoft tries to follow up its fastest selling operating system of all time

Windows 7 still has a ways to become the world's best selling operating system of all time, but it has already earned the distinction of being the fastest selling operating system ever.  That's a tough act to follow for Microsoft which is looking forward to its next operating system, even as it works on new Windows 7 updates and finishes phasing out Windows XP (which coincidentally was the best-selling OS of all time).

Some news has leaked out about the new operating system, which is rumored to be dubbed "Windows 8".  The first piece of news comes courtesy of Microsoft Netherlands, which posted the following announcement (translated using Google):

The phasing out of Windows XP, Microsoft is nearing completion. In July 2010, the support for Windows XP with Service Pack 2 stops. Today Microsoft will stop selling Windows XP to PC manufacturers and the aftermarket sales of Windows Vista. For Windows 7, Microsoft Service Pack 1. This service pack is still in the testing phase and is expected in the first half of next year available.The first update of Windows 7 is the new version of Windows Live Essentials ( became available in mid-June.  Furthermore, Microsoft is of course the next version of Windows. But it will take about two years before "Windows 8 on the market. The latest news about Windows is available at / blog 

The bolded sentence, according to Microsoft blog Windows 8 Beta, was in the article.  Microsoft appears to have swiftly removed it, and visiting the article on Monday, that sentence was no longer there.

A launch two years from now would place Windows 8 as launching in 2012.  Previously it was rumored that the operating system could launch as early as next year (2011).  It is still possible that Microsoft might get to testing the upcoming OS during next year.  And it's also possible that unintentional release of information was inaccurate.

More reliable, but more puzzling were comments by Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Windows 8.  Speaking to reporters at the Gartner Symposium, the outspoken executive reportedly called the upcoming OS the "riskiest" upcoming product from his company.  He failed to elaborate on what he meant by that.

It's pretty hard to believe that the upcoming OS could be riskier than Windows Phone 7, which follows up a poor showing in recent years by Windows Mobile 6/6.5.

One possibility could be a switch to a cloud-based operating system.  Microsoft has dabbled in cloud OS's with its Azure OS.  And Google's first personal computer operating system, Chrome OS, set to debut late this year or early next is a cloud-based OS as well.  Another possibility is perhaps an effort to consolidate software viability via a Windows Software Store (or something of that nature).  Apple made a similar move with its announcement that the App Store would soon vend Mac apps.

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I don't even think that's what he meant.
By 91TTZ on 10/25/2010 11:02:22 AM , Rating: 5
He didn't say that Windows 8 is going to be their riskiest product yet.

A reporter asked him which product that they're currently developing was their riskiest. Ballmer gave an off the cuff response saying, "the next version of Windows", obviously referring to the Vista debacle.

It's no surprise that a company's premier product is also their riskiest.

RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By Murst on 10/25/2010 11:17:59 AM , Rating: 3
Exactly :)

For example, if the next version of Xbox was a complete flop, it would end up costing MS some money, but it wouldn't really be that horrible. However, if the next version of Windows sold "only" 200 million copies, that is billions of potentially lost revenue, which really can't be offset by anything else that Microsoft releases.

Windows, and then Office, are always the riskiest software the MS releases, but they also have the upside of being the most rewarding.

RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By Suntan on 10/25/2010 11:38:08 AM , Rating: 2
Windows, and then Office, are always the riskiest software the MS releases, but they also have the upside of being the most rewarding.

I would agree, but at the same time, I think that the riskiest activity at MS is “not finding/developing something else sizable to help reduce the importance of Windows & Office.”

Those two cash cows can’t keep providing milk forever.


RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By superPC on 10/25/2010 11:46:56 AM , Rating: 2
why? if it can work for coke then why not MS?

RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By Suntan on 10/25/2010 12:24:55 PM , Rating: 2
With a tagline on thier own website that reads...: "With a portfolio of more than 3,300 beverages, from diet and regular sparkling beverages to still beverages such as 100 percent fruit juices and fruit drinks, waters, sports and energy drinks, teas and coffees, and milk-and soy-based beverages, our variety spans the globe." ...I fail to see how Coke Classic would be considered a one-man-show.


RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By superPC on 10/25/2010 12:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
yes but everything they do is just that. drinks. that's a one trick pony if i ever see one.

ms on the other hands tried a whole bunch of stuff. kinnect, windows media center, redesign of ther software, numerous canceled project, windows azure, and other stuff we didn't know yet.

RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By Boze on 10/25/2010 12:22:19 PM , Rating: 2
I must respectfully disagree with you here.

As long as Microsoft continues to innovate with Windows, they'll continue to hold market share. Improving stability, performance, and ease of use will allow Windows to maintain and perhaps even regain lost market share.

As far as Office goes, it is in dire need of simplification. Even the Ribbon, which as I understand it was designed to simplify tasks, is still a bit obtuse and could be improved.

I would not be surprised at all to see my grandkids using Windows 19 a few decades from now.

RE: I don't even think that's what he meant.
By Suntan on 10/25/10, Rating: -1
By ekv on 10/25/2010 8:30:17 PM , Rating: 2
But the main goal, from Microsoft’s standpoint, is to keep the PC at the center of a user’s syncing existence.

I don't think MSFT is trying to diversify.

However, while xbox isn't a "cash cow" like Wdw's or Office, why do you consider it not "there" yet?

By GuinnessKMF on 10/25/2010 10:54:33 PM , Rating: 1
As a non-substantial shareholder, I'm glad they're not leaning too heavily on a shriveled third leg, they are a public company with a responsibility to profits, ensuring that their focus is on their most profitable divisions while also exploring markets for opening ... they're doing exactly that, they have lots of other markets that they are investing it, but thankfully they're not going all in on them.

I'm also pretty sure that their server divisions are much more profitable than their games division right now.

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