A little over a week ago articles appeared claiming availability for Windows 8 would be January of 2013. I hope not. The tablet space is moving fast and I just can’t see Microsoft coming back from missing two more Christmas holiday seasons. Even missing one, the 2011 season, is going to be painful. They have to be fully in the market for 2012.
As I mention in http://hal2020.com/2011/01/23/is-it-game-over-in-smartphones/ Windows Phone 7 arrived a year too late to keep Android from truely establishing itself as the leading smartphone platform. Missing 2011, an almost forgone conclusion, makes it likely that Android will establish itself as the leading Tablet platform. Missing 2012 would allow it to build a likely insurmountable lead.
Microsoft seems to be counting on its success in the enterprise to allow it to overcome both Apple and Android’s lead in consumer tablets. But history is not kind to those who have held similar viewpoints in the past (e.g., IBM). The end user leads, IT follows.