As the story goes, Microsoft has been hinting to its OEMs, partners and vendors for quite some time that it plans to release Windows 8 Consumer Preview in just a few days from now and would follow up with the final RTM build of Windows 8 by the end of Q2 2012. The sources are now stating, however, that the company will officially delay Windows 8 x86 / x64 RTM editions until Q4 2012 and will compensate by extending the longevity of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
Nevertheless, executive management at Microsoft are now considering two alternative options. The first option would be to release a 180-day trial of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, which would expire sometime in September (end of Q3 2012), followed by a 90-day extension, which would give the general public more than enough time to become acquainted with the new OS. The second option would be to release a 365-day trial version and allow consumers to test drive the operating system even a few months after the final Windows 8 x86 / x64 RTM launch in Q4 2012.
The more unfortunate news surrounding the release, however, is the company's talk of delaying Windows 8 ARM Edition all the way until sometime in Q2 2013. This would put the launch timeframe around Mobile World Congress 2013 and would give tablet vendors more preparation to finalize any Windows 8 ARM marketing strategies for next-generation mobile products.
Of course, Microsoft intends to keep information regarding these delays under wraps and is counting on high consumer expectations that Windows 8 will ship soon. BSN notes that both Intel and AMD are the big winners in this situation, as the x86-based giants will be able to increase marketshare of 32nm Intel Atom Medfield tablets and AMD Fusion Bobcat APUs during the six-month timeframe between Q4 2012 and Q2 2013.