Microsoft should once again release its next mainstream version of Windows about three years after the last, a roadmap obtained this week reveals. The schedule has the major revision, tentatively titled "Windows 8," launching in 2012 or about three years after Windows 7. It will purportedly keep in step with a rhythm developed by Microsoft that has Microsoft launching major releases four years apart, as Windows Server 2008 is considered a major release where its R2 upgrade and even Windows 7 are both treated as "release updates."
The schedule suggests Microsoft doesn't expect a radical delay in its OS releases and that it intends to resume a regular schedule for releases. Windows Vista's three-year delay from its original 2004 target stemmed from a decision to largely scrap existing work after security and modernization concerns prompted Microsoft to base Vista on Windows Server 2003's code.
Apple by contrast operates on a flexible schedule dictated by the scale of the releases themselves, such as the nearly two years between Leopard and Snow Leopard.