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Rumor: Windows 8 Details Leaked in Slides?

Slides purporting to show Windows 8 features have emerged on the Web.

The Microsoft Kitchen blog published the slides on Monday, citing an Italian blog source. Some of the slides are dated from April and are stamped "Microsoft confidential -- NDA Conversation." The slides appear to be a presentation of how Microsoft's rumored operating system under development -- "Windows 8" -- can help PC maker HP support its customers.

Microsoft, which released Windows 7 in October, hasn't described a successor OS, although new releases happen about every three years. The "Windows 8" project is still a rumor, although CNet author Ina Fried wrote that the name was confirmed in slides at the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference in November, along with a 2012 release date. Such a date seems somewhat consistent with a July 1, 2011 purported release-to-manufacturing date, also not confirmed.

A Microsoft spokesperson didn't confirm the existence of a Windows 8 project at Microsoft. She said in a Monday phone call that Microsoft was looking into whether the slides really came from Microsoft. "If it is real, it could be stuff that's old," she said.

Certainly, the slide materials tend to cover old ground or areas Microsoft has already focused on with Windows 7. For instance, the takeaway slides suggest that energy efficiency will be a focus of Windows 8, along with "instant sleep." The slides also predict that Windows 8 users will see faster wakeup times: "Turn On duration is about half of today's cold boot with "Logoff + Hibernate," one slide states.

A future scenario is presented with regard to identity management. Users will able to establish their identity through the PC's camera and facial recognition technology, according to one slide. In addition, identity will evolve from being "machine centric to user centric" by housing identity information in the Internet cloud.

The slides state that a 3D user interface for PCs is "on the horizon." However, Microsoft announced in late May that it partnered with chipmaker NVidia on such technology.

There's also a slide suggesting that users of Apple's OS consider the interface to be of "high quality" by users, which enforces Apple's brand strength. If the slides are real, that seems a peculiar addition to the slide deck. Why would Microsoft make such a concession about Apple's OS brand strength in slides aimed at Microsoft's No. 1 PC equipment manufacturing partner?

A number of Web sites track alleged Windows 8 "leaks." In the case of a rumored 128-bit Windows 8, the Web site alleging it has since disappeared.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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