Microsoft certainly knows how to make life difficult for itself. First it gives its smartphone OS a massive headstart before finally getting Windows Phone 7 to market, and now it's pretty much done the exact same thing with tablets and Windows 8.
Nonetheless, the next version of Windows has finally been given some airtime courtesy of a demo by Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky at the D9 conference in the US, and finally gives Windows the touch-friendly look and feel everyone's been crying out for.
Windows 8 – and that's still an unofficial title at this stage – may be the latest version of Microsoft's desktop OS, but it draws heavily on the smartphone-based Windows Phone 7, both in terms of its appearance and in Microsoft's approach to dealing with OEMs.
For starters, it features the use of Tiles as in WinPho 7, which will be a mixture of traditional Windows applications and HTML5 web apps.
It's been designed to work with touch interfaces from the start, so while it will still happily team up with a keyboard and mouse in the desktop PC environment, it's also equipped with a range of virtual keyboards for tablet use.
The on-screen Tiles will include the Live Tiles with notifications we've become used to in Windows Phone 7, while an all-new Internet Explorer 10 will be rolled out alongside Windows 8 too.
However, one similarity with WinPho that's already proving less than popular is that Microsoft is taking a similarly rigid approach with Windows 8 when it comes to hardware and component partners.
Chipmakers have apparently already been told they need to choose a single component manufacturer to work with, which it believes will speed up the delivery process.
As for a release date for Windows 8, Sinofsky says it's a “Defence Department secret”, but if we had to put some money down, our bet would be on early next year.