We should be expecting Microsoft to release their next-generation Windows 8 OS in October, where we could see both the x86 and ARM-based versions dropping simultaneously. This would give Microsoft a head start for the holiday season, letting tablet, notebook and other device makers ample time to get products ready for holiday consumption.
Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft want to claw back some of the lost sales they've experienced because of the iPad, and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Garter Inc. has said:
If they miss the September-October time frame, they're going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012. The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it's going to be a good seller for the holidays.
According to Bloomberg, who cite sources with "knowledge of the schedule", we should expect an event hosted by Microsoft next month where the company will unveil their release strategy for Windows 8, where they'll provide more details on timing and marketing. The same sources have said that there will be less ARM-based devices in the rollout, because Microsoft have tightly controlled the number and set rigorous quality-control standards.