Hold the phone. Microsoft has jumped in quickly to downplay comments by CEO Steve Ballmer that Windows 8 will be released next year. Should we surprise? No. Does this mean it won't be released next year? No.
The official Microsoft response was that Ballmer had made a "misstatement" (whatever that means, it's not a real word is it) and the company added it had not made a formal announcement of the release date or name of the next version of Windows.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if Windows 8 arrived next year. Among other things, it gives the Redmond photocopier guys a year to rip off any features they like in the next version of Mac OS (Lion), which is due to be unveiled next month. As for its name, given the poor reception Microsoft received for the previous Windows OS that didn't have a number attached to it, I think it may well stick with 8.