Will you be ready? Will you care? Bottom line, will you buy it?
Microsoft will finish work on Windows 8 this summer, setting the stage for personal computers and tablets with the operating system to go on sale around October, according to people with knowledge of the schedule.
The initial rollout will include devices running Intel Corp. (INTC) and ARM Holdings Plc (ARM) chips, making good on Microsoft’s promise to support both standards, said the people, who declined to be named because the plans are confidential. In embracing ARM technology, Microsoft is using the same kind of processors as Apple Inc.’s iPad. Still, there will be fewer than five ARM devices in the debut, compared with more than 40 Intel machines.
The timing would let Microsoft target Christmas shoppers with the new software, which works with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs. The Redmond, Washington-based company, which hasn’t announced timing for the Windows 8 release, aims to take back sales lost to the iPad and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Apple (AAPL) released the third version of the iPad this month, posing an even stiffer challenge to Microsoft.
“If they miss the September-October time frame, they’re going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc. “The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it’s going to be a good seller for the holidays.'”