While we do not have official confirmation yet that Microsoft has started work on the third milestone of the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, we have the next best thing: Leaked information from Zukona, a user with a track record of reliable Windows build information.
Zukona posted the build string of one of the latest Windows 8 builds: 6.2.7956.0.winmain_win8m3.110228-1701
The win8m3 indicates that it is a Milestone 3 build, 110228 that it was compiled yesterday on February 28, 2011.
If we look back, Milestone 3 was the last step before Microsoft moved to beta builds of Windows 7 and it is likely that the Redmond company has intentions to stay true to the development process.
Windows 7 Milestone 3 appeared in September 2008 for the first time, 13 months before the final release of the operating system. If we take that as a measure, Windows 8 could be ready in the first quarter of 2012, any maybe even earlier if Microsoft decides to release only one public beta before the release candidate.
Windows 7 Beta was released January 2009, a good three months after the first Milestone 3 release. It could mean that we will see a first Windows 8 beta release in June or July 2011.
An early 2012 release would fall into line with Dell’s product roadmap which hinted at a Windows 8 Tablet in the first quarter of 2012.
The Windows 8 timeline could look like this:
March 2011: Windows 8 Milestone 3
June / July 2011: Windows 8 Beta
September / October 2001: Windows 7 Release Candidate
Early 2012: Windows 8 final. read more