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Steve Ballmer window-dresses Windows 8

'A variety of different form factors' coming in 2012

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Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer confirmed yesterday that the company's "next generation of Windows systems" will be released in 2012.

Interestingly, Ballmer also acknowledged the Windows 8 name, which up to now has been batted aside by Microsoft flacks, who have been keen to keep details about Redmond's next OS off the news agenda, despite leaks from its hardware partners.

In a carefully worded statement, Ballmer, who was speaking at Microsoft's Developer Forum in Tokyo, Japan, appeared to hint that Windows 8 won't be the only system released by the software vendor next year.

"We're obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows... We have a brand new user interface. We've added touch, and ink, and speech. And yet, as we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming," said the MS boss.

"As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors."

It's unclear if Ballmer's singular use of the word "interface" refers simply to a variety of Windows 8 editions being developed for different devices such as tablets and slates or if his mention of "Windows systems" in the plural sense means that more than one OS will be released in 2012. ®

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