Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed the next version of its Windows operating system will hit shelves in 2012.
"We're obviously hard at work on the next version of Windows," he said during a speech at a developer's conference in Japan.
See also: Microsoft Windows 8 review
"As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming.”
Ballmer also used the name ‘Windows 8’ in relation to the operating system. The web has been awash with rumours for some time that Windows 8 is to be the name of the next version of the operating system. However, until now, Microsoft has refused to confirm this.
In January, during a demo of the next version of Windows at CES, Steve Sinofsky refused to name the operating system. "I didn't say Windows 8, I said the next generation of Windows," he said.
But Ballmer told attendees to the developers conference: "As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8”.
"Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors."
However, Microsoft told ZDNet, Ballmer’s comments were “a misstatement”.
“We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows.”
Ballmer also revealed that the firm recently purchased VoIP service Skype because "the most fundamental thing we do is help people communicate, which is why we continue to drive forward with products like Outlook and Lync, and also, frankly, why we made the decision to acquire Skype.”
"Skype is the most popular software on the planet for people who want to do real-time video connection, in addition to being very important, in helping people do voice and other real time communication.”