Windows 8 in 2012?

It's not clear what Microsoft's desktop plans are, but the Windows Server team included slides at PDC suggesting a new major release coming around 2012.

Steven Sinofsky may not be talking about Microsoft's future Windows plans, but the Windows Server team appears to see more value in letting customers know its road map.

In at least two slides apparently shown at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles this week, Microsoft suggests that a major release update to Windows Server is due around 2012, with one of the slides confirming the Windows 8 code name.

I've asked both the desktop and server teams for more context on the slides, which were noted this week by blogger Stephen Chapman. A similar slide cropped up--that time in Italian-- in August.

For his part, Sinofsky sat completely stone-faced when I asked him in our interview Wednesday where Microsoft was at relative to Windows 8--later noting that he hadn't even used the word Windows next to the numeral 8.

"I didn't say any of the words--Windows 8--those were all your words," he said

The 2012 time frame would roughly coincide with Windows Server's plans of having a minor release every two years or so and a major release every four years. It released Windows Server 2008 R2, a minor update, earlier this year as the desktop team released Windows 7.

In recent years, Microsoft has tended to line up its desktop and server releases fairly closely, although in this case the desktop OS was probably a more significant release than its server counterpart.