Personally I think its to soon to say Microsoft is backing down. At least until the end of June when they have stated Windows Blue will be available.
The FT details do not match the sales numbers given out by Microsoft this week, To me if the numbers are correct why the Microsoft statement that windows blue CR will be available shortly ??
Whats not been announced is it a new OS or an update to Win 8 the facts are Windows Blue will have a public preview that will be made available this summer (in June). Tend to point to a new OS
So soon after Windows 8 The facts just do not match.