In a blog post on its Dutch website, Microsoft said that the next version of Windows, Windows 8, is in the works, but that the new operating system will not hit the market for about two years.
The news came at the bottom of a post commemorating Windows 7’s one-year anniversary, and suggests a substantially later deployment date than the one detailed in a leaked slide deck about the forthcoming product earlier this year.
According to the slide deck, the next version of Windows should include a Windows App Store similar to the one Apple unveiled for Mac last week, logins via facial recognition and faster boot-up times. It also cited early 2011 as the intended launch date.
Given that Apple will at minimum release its new Mac OS X Lion operating system by that time, it seems that Windows 8 will have to develop some impressive features to stay competitive.
Yet a three-year gap between operating systems is nothing new for Microsoft. The Seattle-based company has historically taken much more time to develop and deploy new versions of its desktop operating system than Apple. Windows 7 was released a year ago this month, approximately two and a half years after Windows Vista became available to most consumers. There was a five-year gap between Windows XP and Vista, a delay so painful that CEO Steve Ballmer publicly pledged that the company would never again allow such a long period to elapse between releases.