Microsoft tablet OS not slated until fall 2012?

If you couldn't keep the news straight about when Microsoft was going to release its tablet OS, don't worry, we have new information that convolutes release dates even more. The latest rumor now says that the tablet OS will not hit retail until "the 2012 back-to-school season".

Businessweek.com is now saying that Microsoft will not push out a tablet OS until the back-to-school season for 2012. That is more than a year away which will give Apple and now Google, an even bigger jump start on the mobile market. Businessweek states:

Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest software maker, won’t release a competitor to Apple Inc. and Google Inc.’s tablet operating systems until the 2012 back-to- school season, people with knowledge of the plans said. Public testing of a new version of Windows with partners and customers will begin at the end of this year, said the people, who declined to be identified because the plans haven’t been disclosed publicly.

The previous rumors had stated that the mobile OS would possibly land in January and would be shown off this June. There was even a Dell roadmap that leaked pointing towards a January launch in 2012 but if Businessweek is correct, this information is indeed false.

Who has the right information, we cant really say at this point until Microsoft finally gives us a formal timeline. Until then, it's a Google and Apple world where Microsoft will once again find itself playing catch-up.  

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Windows 8 installed in 8 minutes on a machine with 24 GB of ram

Next Story

Apple negotiating unlimited music downloads for iTunes customers

54 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Doesn't bother me. I'm getting an Asus EEE Slate as soon as it comes out in the UK in the next few weeks - give me one of those over an iPad/Android tab any day.

How can Microsoft be considered late in this space? They were building tablets way before anyone else, albeit it with old tech. They "innovated" with the Microsoft Courier before IPad was even a wet dream and they were a long way down the road with it'd development when it got canned. The question to be asking is why does Microsoft kill projects on the premise that they are not viable, only to have other companies then steal those ideas and make something of it, and then claim the innovation Noddy badge?

My grand hope is that Microsoft isn't being stupid, and has decided to make their entry in the market an attempt to evolve the platform. Everyone is waiting on MS to 'compete' with Apple and Google in a market that has decided tablets are giant smartphones. And yes, smartphone OSes work on tablets, but why must they be the end-all-be-all? Small furniture works in big rooms when big furniture doesn't work in small rooms, yes, but that still leaves the opportunity to find the 'just right' design for this form factor that's 4x the size of a smart phone.

Laptops shrunk the desktop successfully because you could still have a mouse and keyboard, and tablets expanded the smartphone successfully because you still had touch input. But the reality is, we took a less powerful OS design and put it on more powerful, more capable hardware (tablets), and we're patting ourselves on the back because "at least it isn't a full desktop OS".

There's still room to completely reinvent the tablet. This is first generation consumer slate stuff here (not to ignore MS's original tablet vision--but that was inherently more business oriented). First generation doesn't stick around for long. We all acknowledge it's going to get better. But for some reason, everyone's decided that Microsoft is 'too late'.

Mindnumbingly, many of these same people think WebOS has a chance. A belief that exposes an anti-MS bias if nothing else--if a smartphone market bomb with zero consumer awareness has a chance, how monolithically retarded do you have to be to also think Microsoft doesn't?

I think Microsoft has a chance to merge their Windows Everywhere approach with their tablet market. I also believe their existing desktop OS could be transformed into something tablet-friendly with the right innovations. No layers. No skins. Just a simple setting for how you want your GUI 'arranged'. A windowed application environment can work on 10" displays just fine (we were using Windows in 640x480 days, after all), so let's see Microsoft be the company that makes that happen. Let's see the title bar reworked--why not long presses to activate min/max/close buttons? Let's see the menu bar reworked--every existing menu bar simply gets re-rendered as a single drop-down menu activated from one touch-friendly button.

Let's see text entry reworked. Why must half the screen be taken over by a software keyboard on tablet OSes when blending and transparency have existed for ages? Swype on a very transparent keyboard overlay that doesn't force your content to squeeze itself into a smaller space would work wonderfully.

I don't know. These are just ideas. I think powerful computing metaphors can exist on the tablet form factor, and whenever I hear people say smartphone OSes work just fine, it feels like a bunch of techies who have given up on evolution. I've long suspected that the rapid progress obsession of the 80s has been gruesomely murdered by the modern tech enthusiast who is little more than an old dog terrified of learning new tricks, but fortunately enthusiasts are a minority of consumers, and the frustratingly annoying attitude of "it works just fine how it is, why change it?" will have zero impact on product success/failure.

it's not that Balmer is dumb ....He's a marketing guy. Its not that Bill Gate's is smart, it's jut that he was figure out he was wrong and execute fast. Balmer is very slow to realize he is wrong and slower to adapt.

Joe05 - MS's official entry into tablets was in 2001, when they released Windows XP Tablet edition and have specifications for OEMS to design slate tables.... people keep trying to say "its not the same" it was the same, it was a tablet OS at the time, it was a slate form factor, people just didnt jump all over it like now

I think some people here are missing the point, Microsofts official entry into the tablet space will be Windows 8, they have stayed out of this small but growing market until they have a platform that they can properly leverage that also is compatible with so called systems on a chip and hence run on low wattage processors.

The UI will also be leveraged for touch input, I would rather wait for something like this than an iPad which for me a find limiting.

Im sure Microsoft is working on something and or watching where the market goes, however this could prove bad for them in the long run. WP7 is great but I am getting the feeling that Microsoft is still going to loose the mobile market altogether with how fast Droid, iOS and even Blackberry are getting devices out. They are still strong in the desktop computing market and this may be where they will end up staying if they don't hurry up

Digitalx said,
wonder why so long didn't they just release WE7

Uhhh, do you even know what Windows Embedded 7 is? If you did, you'd know that it was released nearly a year ago.

I wonder what it would take to fire Balmer. If they got rid him and put semi competent person in charge I bet the stock would go up 2 fold.

Melfster said,
I wonder what it would take to fire Balmer. If they got rid him and put semi competent person in charge I bet the stock would go up 2 fold.

I wouldnt say Balmer is bad. I would say that i thought Gates was brighter though. As for Balmer, i think he just has such an outgoing attitude that people got the wrong message. Like when he jumped across the stage. I dont think you know half of what he is doing.

auziez said,

I wouldnt say Balmer is bad. I would say that i thought Gates was brighter though. As for Balmer, i think he just has such an outgoing attitude that people got the wrong message. Like when he jumped across the stage. I dont think you know half of what he is doing.


He's just really excited, and that's a good thing

Melfster said,
I wonder what it would take to fire Balmer. If they got rid him and put semi competent person in charge I bet the stock would go up 2 fold.

Nah, it wouldn't. Stock price is not a meritocracy. Big investors already have Google, Apple, and others with which to make lots of money. They don't need another stock for that purpose, and it's been made very clear that they're under no obligation to reward any achievement, innovation, successful product, massively popular tech gadget, expectation-crushing earnings, or years of steady growth and profitability from MS.

rfirth said,

He's just really excited, and that's a good thing

Come on, the guy once bounded on stage shouting 'WINDOWS WINDOWS WINDOWS!!' so loud that he tore the tissue in his throat...

Dedication =P

Microsoft's own worst enemy is itself. Too many exciting products over the years that get cancelled or flounder until they're no longer relevant.

thornz0 said,
Microsoft's own worst enemy is itself. Too many exciting products over the years that get cancelled or flounder until they're no longer relevant.

In a way they're ahead of the game in terms of innovation - it's just that the technology to power the inventions is always too expensive. I'm sure the Courier would exist if battery life was much better. And I'm sure tablets would have succeeded in 2005-onwards if they had been lighter and cheaper.
If they made their own mobile devices they might succeed more, but then they would end up having to compete against the very manufacturers that make their laptops etc. Being strict on WP7 hardware requirements has gone some way to alleviate problems to remove low-specced hardware that would never run smoothly.
They have and always will be a software company, the problem with enforcing hardware design requirements ala WP7 is that all devices end up being very similar, but by golly they work. So, any slate would equally need to meet specific design requirements set by MS, but then they all end up being the same.

thornz0 said,
Too many exciting products over the years that get cancelled or flounder until they're no longer relevant.

Oh, like Google?

Google Wave anyone? Google Buzz? And the many Google Betas that got canceled?

thornz0 said,
Microsoft's own worst enemy is itself. Too many exciting products over the years that get cancelled or flounder until they're no longer relevant.

Was anyone seriously excited by a microsoft tablet? I think not.

Flawed said,

Was anyone seriously excited by a microsoft tablet? I think not.

I would be...
I always like their tablets before, they just need a better UI.
But they have more freedom and applications then if you go with a iPad or Xoom.

BoyBoppins said,

Exactly what I think. Everyone wants Microsoft to copy apple so they can say how ****ty it is when it releases. Microsoft is prolly working on something huge to drop on everyone when its ready that "will change everything"

It may change everything, but unless they market it massively, everyone will be blind and only see/hear Apple. By that time people will have invested significantly in iOS - music etc, so if anything they really need to make it easy for people to switch and promote that - like ability to play/import itunes music to Zune etc.

By that point tablets will be a little more powerful than current models. I have a feeling that this tablet OS by Microsoft will be far more powerful than what we've seen today from current manufactures.

sask said,
By that point tablets will be a little more powerful than current models. I have a feeling that this tablet OS by Microsoft will be far more powerful than what we've seen today from current manufactures.

I think that's pretty obvious.

sask said,
By that point tablets will be a little more powerful than current models. I have a feeling that this tablet OS by Microsoft will be far more powerful than what we've seen today from current manufactures.

Exactly what I think. Everyone wants Microsoft to copy apple so they can say how ****ty it is when it releases. Microsoft is prolly working on something huge to drop on everyone when its ready that "will change everything"

BoyBoppins said,

Microsoft is prolly working on something huge to drop on everyone when its ready that "will change everything"

All they have to do is release a machine with a proper Windows OS on it, so it can do the things a real PC can, like business applications, programs, and games.

I want to do more with my tablet than play flash games and browse the web...

sask said,
By that point tablets will be a little more powerful than current models. I have a feeling that this tablet OS by Microsoft will be far more powerful than what we've seen today from current manufactures.

The bloat is strong in this one...

BoyBoppins said,

Exactly what I think. Everyone wants Microsoft to copy apple so they can say how ****ty it is when it releases. Microsoft is prolly working on something huge to drop on everyone when its ready that "will change everything"

Isn't that wishful thinking? And who's going to write the apps for it? If it's running on the ARM architecture, then applications will need to be recompiled/rewritten for it.

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

Why not make better products for the people then, we can't get stuff like this without companies like them (:

BoyBoppins said,

How is late not innovative?

My hope is they manage to make a product that's more than a glorified phone os and can get stuff done. Hopefully that incorporates stylus and touch together.

TerryGFX said,

Why not make better products for the people then, we can't get stuff like this without companies like them (:

Because in this fast paced tech market, people will forget about you in a fiscal quarter or two, longer for MS only because they're MS, if you're not delivering 'wow'. I mean, if aren't pumping out those smartphone updates, tabs, etc now, you're going to feel some pain. If you want to play and compete with the device big-boys, you'd better come ready to roll, and yesterday. This applies for like software game titles too(d3) - Blizzard I'm looking at you...

Soulsiphon said,

If you want to play and compete with the device big-boys, you'd better come ready to roll, and yesterday.

Microsoft doesn't make devices, at least not ones in the same market as whoever you think these "device big-boys" are.

BoyBoppins said,

My hope is they manage to make a product that's more than a glorified phone os and can get stuff done. Hopefully that incorporates stylus and touch together.
Well the problem is within the next 18 months, the tablet market will be flooded with Android and iOS tablets. Windows would need to create a new market to get new customers or somehow create something mindblowing which all these customers of Android and iOS would be willing purchase. For example, Windows should be capable of running on an Android or iOS tablet. Sell licenses of Windows which will run on those devices, just like they currently sell Windows for laptops. That's one way of capturing an already flooded market. Now, that's assuming Android won't do the same thing by then and make available to all customers for free.

BoyBoppins said,

My hope is they manage to make a product that's more than a glorified phone os and can get stuff done. Hopefully that incorporates stylus and touch together.

So you want a tablet that is easy to use and has a full OS on it? Sounds like you need a laptop Sir not a tablet.

PS Phone OS's are perfect for tablets.

offroadaaron said,

So you want a tablet that is easy to use and has a full OS on it? Sounds like you need a laptop Sir not a tablet.

PS Phone OS's are perfect for tablets.

exactly.. a tablet that has Windows.. and can do everything but is more responsive to touch

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

Innovative? since when does a company need to be quick to be innovative?

My assumption is that your ignorant of what the giant is capable of. Sure they are slow at moving, but one blow can knock all others over - thats what they did with windows, xbox, and soon wp7. My assumption is that you are just mad that they are coming to the market late. But frankly, id want them to come late with a diamond product - then early with a bronze product.

auziez said,
But frankly, id want them to come late with a diamond product - then early with a bronze product.

A "diamond product" doesn't mean much if you have a small user base, and people who have brought into and spent hundreds (in some cases, thousands) of dollars on the Apple, Android or (to a lesser extent) WebOS ecosystem probably aren't going to switch. With another year or more of no product in this field, they may as well not bother at all.

auziez said,

But frankly, id want them to come late with a diamond product - then early with a bronze product.

Quote For Truth!
X100000

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

Microsoft isn't called the "me too company" for nothing. They're always late to the party.

scorpio_on_blue_moon said,

Just one word: Kinect???

And that wasn't microsoft's imitation of the Wii's motion controls? Albeit, somewhat better, I admit, but still, Nintendo was the first to do it. Microsoft and Sony are just copying the idea in different forms.

Flawed said,

And that wasn't microsoft's imitation of the Wii's motion controls? Albeit, somewhat better, I admit, but still, Nintendo was the first to do it. Microsoft and Sony are just copying the idea in different forms.

I know it's more akin to the SixAxis PS3 pad, but Microsoft was doing motion controls with the Sidewinder Freestyle Pro back in 1998.

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

How about the Metro UI
The Surface
WPF
and Kinect

those seem innovative.

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

I'm sorry, but you are wrong, MS came out with the Tablet in 2000, when no one else had it... they just didn't execute it the same way Apple did almost a decade later...... MS inovated in 2000, Apple basically copied MS's slate design and modified it and put the iPhone OS (iOS) on it with some modifications.....

neufuse said,

I'm sorry, but you are wrong, MS came out with the Tablet in 2000, when no one else had it... they just didn't execute it the same way Apple did almost a decade later...... MS inovated in 2000, Apple basically copied MS's slate design and modified it and put the iPhone OS (iOS) on it with some modifications.....

+1 exactly

astrokat said,
Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

I just spilt all my coffee, I never laughed so much!! ha!ha!

astrokat said,
Wow - always late. Microsoft is not an innovative company at all.

You do realize that Microsoft created the first tablet computers more than a decade ago. Microsoft poured a tremendous amount of resources into creating innovative products that were never embraced by the average consumer (though with some success in specific markets such as hospitals).

Apple has come along and basically created a larger version of their iPod touch. The genius behind the success of the iPad is not the design or innovation but rather the marketing. Time will tell if tablet (pad) technology is here to stay or if it will go down the same path as the netbook.

Microsoft is a very innovative company and only the naive would suggest otherwise. As to being late, would argue that they were in the forefront of tablet computing. Maybe right now they are just sitting back to see if this resurgence of interest in tablet computing is legitimate or just a passing phase before investing more money into a technology that people don't really need.

Soulsiphon said,
Quick, someone get Mary Jo on the phone.

And Ed Bott, and Paul Thurrot, and charon.G (from the French website Ma-Config.com), and Tom Warren, and...