As rumored in my previous article Microsoft (MSFT) will indeed complete its work on Windows 8 by the end of this summer and have it ready and shipped for consumption in October so says inside sources.
One of the biggest goals for Microsoft is to make a single OS for multiple devices. Therefore, the initial rollout will be on devices such as tablets and smart-phones. This schedule would allow Microsoft and its vendors to target holiday shoppers touting the new Windows 8 touchscreen alongside all the new features of their OS.
During the upcoming month (April), the company will be releasing their marketing strategy to partners of both ARM-based and Intel based microprocessors. Preparing for Intel chips will be quite easy because Windows has always run on Intel's instruction set; however, Windows has never run on ARM devices. This certainly will have executives and directors a little nervous considering the Windows 8 Developer version only ran on Intel. Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows business, has previously said that Microsoft will have both ARM and Intel- based systems available when Windows 8 is released.
“Our collective goal is for them to ship at the same time,” he said in an interview last month. “I wouldn’t be saying it’s a goal if I didn’t think we could do it.”
It wouldn't be a big surprise to see the marketing campaign release a free windows 8 upgrade to purchases made after April. This would be in step with similar strategy done during the Vista to 7 transition.
[UPDATE - July 15, 2012] Microsoft revealed this week that it expects to deliver Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 to manufacturing in the first week of August, with general availability of the products due in late October and September, respectively.