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Intel CEO thinks Windows 8 isn't ready, insider claims

But at least it will ship before the holidays

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To hear Microsoft tell it, work on Windows 8 wrapped in August and the final version of the new OS is already shipping to PC makers. But according to a source close to Intel, Redmond's closest hardware partner thinks the current Windows 8 code is still only half-baked.

At a recent company meeting in Taipei, Taiwan, Intel CEO Paul Otellini told staffers that Windows 8 is being released before it's fully ready, Bloomberg reports, citing an unnamed source who attended the event.

But although Otellini thinks the Windows 8 code needs improvement, the source claims, he still believes that releasing it before the 2012 holiday season is the right move and that any needed fixes can be made post-launch.

Microsoft has said Windows 8 will hit retail stores on October 26, the same day that it plans to release its Surface tablets running Windows RT, the ARM-based version of the OS. Neither announcement has been met with particular enthusiasm by analysts and industry bigwigs, however, several of whom have voiced doubts similar to Otellini's.

In July, Gartner research director Gunnar Berger said that the Windows 8 user experience on PCs without touchscreens was "bad," and that when the analyst firm asked its clients whether they were evaluating the new OS, "most laughed."

That same month, gaming mogul Gabe Newell told conference attendees in Seattle that he expected Windows 8 to be "a catastrophe for everyone in the PC space," and that top-tier PC makers would be forced to exit the market when consumers stopped buying their goods.

While Newell's view may be a bit extreme, Otellini's remarks will surely stoke the fires of those critics who are already comparing Windows 8 to the much-maligned (and commercially disastrous) Windows Vista.

For its part, Microsoft denied that there's anything wrong with Windows 8. "With over 16 million active preview participants, Windows 8 is the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft’s history," the company said in a statement.

But although "active preview participants" has a nice ring to it, we here at El Reg's West Coast aerie might suggest another term, based on Otellini's reported comments: how does "guinea pigs" sound? ®

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