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Windows 8 prerelease launching in coming months

In a new blog series called "Building Windows 8," Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky is short on specifics but promises to reveal more over the next few weeks.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Windows 8 is set to hit the prerelease stage over the coming months, according to a blog posted yesterday by Microsoft President Steven Sinofsky.

Though the term prerelease version is a bit vague, Sinofsky is likely referring to the beta of Windows 8 since he said that the company wants to "begin an open dialogue with those of you who will be trying out the prerelease version over the coming months."

Aiming the new blog series, "Building Windows 8," at customers, developers, and users in general, Sinofsky used the post to provide tidbits of information but not much detail yet as he acknowledged that "people express frustration over how little we've communicated so far about Windows 8."

Among other comments, Sinofsky said that "Windows 8 reimagines Windows," however he stressed that the company is committed to supporting Windows 8 on all existing Windows 7 PCs and hardware.

Though the initial blog, "Welcome to Building Windows 8," was short on specifics, Sinofsky promised to reveal more over the next few weeks.

"There is so much packed into Windows 8 and there are so many unique and important lenses through which to view Windows 8, and so we want to be sure to take the time to cover as many of these topics as possible, to build up a shared understanding of why we've taken Windows where we have," he wrote. "So in the next weeks we will just start talking specifics of features, since there is no obvious place to start given the varying perspectives. From fundamentals, to user interface, to hardware support, and more, if something is important to you, we promise we'll get to it in some form or another."

The B8 blog, as Sinofsky referred to it, will be updated on a regular basis as different people from Microsoft share the latest information on the development of the new OS.

"As a team we're all going to participate--many of us will author posts, and all of us will read and take note of your comments on this blog," Sinofsky wrote. "We'll participate in a constructive dialogue with you. We'll also make mistakes and admit it when we do. It is almost certain that something will hit a nerve, with the team or with the community, or both, in the blog posts or in the product, or both."

The new blog series comes at a time when rumors have been flying the past several months over when Windows 8 might debut.

Related stories:
Ballmer: Windows 8 will debut in 2012
Windows 8 to be released to manufacturing by April?
Sinofsky shows off Windows 8 at D9

In May, CEO Steve Ballmer said that the new OS would reach consumers in 2012, though Microsoft quickly shot down his comments. In June, Vice President Dan'l Lewin dropped hints that Windows 8 would launch during the fall of 2012.

A report in June by ZDNet reporter Mary Jo Foley cited a source claiming that Microsoft would release the Windows 8 beta in the middle of September at its Build developers conference. Though that specific date doesn't quite jibe with Sinofsky's "coming months" time frame, Foley's source also indicated that Microsoft would release only one beta, followed by the traditional Release Candidate and the final RTM (release to manufacturing) version a few months later.

Sinofsky demonstrated Windows 8 at the All Things Digital D9 conference in late June. The next major event, he blogged, will be September's Build conference where Microsoft will offer developers more details about the tools they'll need to design for Windows 8.