Documenting the Microsoft Product Schedule

A former Microsoft employee posted RTM dates, but are they real, even in the shifting context of Microsoft's development cycle?

A former Microsoft employee apparently disclosed release to manufacturing (RTM) dates for future Microsoft products, including "Office 2012," "Windows Server 2012" and "Windows 8."

The dates were included in a chart that was drawn up by former Microsoft employee Chris Green, who linked to a "roadmap draft" in an MSDN blog posting on Dec. 2, 2009. The Microsoft Kitchen blog -- unaffiliated with Microsoft -- publicized the supposed leak. Green's roadmap draft was later removed from the Microsoft site, although it remained live on another personal site that he linked to from his official blog.

The future product names in Green's chart are followed by question marks. Green's MSDN blog includes a statement that the opinions in the blog "are not intended to represent my employer's view." Green apparently was trying to provide a helpful overview of mainstream support and extended support time periods for existing Microsoft products, but the future product dates stayed in the chart.If Green's chart is accurate, here are RTM dates for products that Microsoft has not yet announced: "Windows 8" on July 1, 2011; "Windows Server 2012" on July 2, 2012; "Office 2012" on July 2, 2012; "SQL Server 2011" on July 1, 2011; "SharePoint Server 2013" on July 1, 2013; "Exchange 2013" on July 1, 2013; "OCS 2010" on Dec. 1, 2010.

Microsoft typically does not publicize the release dates -- or even the names -- of products that are still under wraps.

The Windows 8 RTM date appears to be a bit accelerated from Microsoft's typical three-year interval between new OS releases. However, some RTM dates in the chart are accurate, at least for existing Microsoft products. For instance, Windows 7 had its RTM on July 22, 2009, which is one day off from the date listed in Green's chart.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.