Windows 8 could be released to manufacturing by April, according to a "not so crazy" rumor offered by Mary Jo Foley of CNET sister site ZDNet.
In her column yesterday, Foley cited a "trusted source," who says that Microsoft is currently on track for Windows 8 to be released to manufacturing by April. RTM, or release to manufacturing, is the final version of a product just before it reaches consumers. For example, Windows 7 was released to manufacturing in July 2009 and then officially launched a few months later in October.
According to Foley's source, Microsoft is looking to unveil an actual beta of Windows 8--not a pre-beta or preview version--at the company's Build developers conference in the middle of September. That will be the only beta for the operating system, added the contact, and will be followed by a release candidate in January or so, with the RTM edition to debut a few months later.
The April RTM date follows a summer 2012 RTM target that Foley originally heard about. But this matches Microsoft's typical pattern of building in some extra internal time to allow for any slippage. If the source is correct, then, as Foley notes, Microsoft and its manufacturing partners will be able to hit the market with Windows 8 PCs and tablets in time for both holiday shopping and the back-to-school season.
This latest rumor follows recent "hints" from Microsoft Vice President Dan'l Lewin that pointed to fall 2012 as the time that Windows 8 would be released to consumers. CEO Steve Ballmer also recently said that Windows 8 would appear in 2012, though his comment was quickly shot down by his own company, claiming it was a "misstatement."