A widely cited Bloomberg report this week claimed that Intel CEO Paul Otellini privately told employees in Taiwan that Microsoft’s Windows 8 OS is being released before it's ready and needs improvements. Intel has since called the report “unsubstantiated.” But that’s not the same as a denial.
“Intel has a long and successful heritage working with Microsoft on the release of Windows platforms, delivering devices that provide exciting experiences, stunning performance, and superior compatibility,” Intel wrote in a public statement. “Intel fully expects this to continue with Windows 8.”
“Intel, Microsoft, and our partners have been working closely together on testing and validation to ensure delivery of a high-quality experience across the nearly 200 Intel-based designs that will start launching in October,” the statement continues. “Intel CEO Paul Otellini is on record as saying ‘Windows 8 is one of the best things that ever happened to Intel,’ citing the importance of the touch interface coming to mainstream computing and the huge wave of exciting new Ultrabook, tablet, and convertible device innovations coming to the market.”
That Intel would even address this issue publicly highlights the sensitivity of the charges. Intel is Microsoft’s biggest partner, and much of Intel’s future success is of course riding on Windows 8.
That said, nowhere in this statement did Intel deny that Mr. Otellini criticized Windows 8 privately to employees or describe the OS as in need of improvements. And Intel hasn't asked Bloomberg to correct its report.
Intel has a lot to fear with Windows 8, regardless of its level of completeness. As I’ve argued several times—check out "Welcome to Windows 8," for example—the secret initiative behind this release is to push a new mobile platform, previously known as Metro, that runs on both Intel-compatible PCs and new ARM-based devices. If Metro is truly successful, then a significant portion of future Windows sales will come via ARM-based devices running Windows RT, not Intel-based PCs running Windows 8. So far, ARM has out-maneuvered Intel fairly dramatically in new markets for smartphones and tablets, markets that will one day make the PC market seem tiny by comparison.
As for Microsoft, it claims that Windows 8 is the most-heavily tested product it has ever released.
“With more than 16 million active preview participants, Windows 8 is the most tested, reviewed, and ready operating system in Microsoft’s history,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We’re looking forward to making Windows 8 available to the world on October 26th.”