Pocket-lint is reporting that Windows 8 will be launched in October of this year, quoting director of Windows PR Janelle Poole:
"One of the things that I think is a good guideline though is we've always said that Windows releases come round about every three years and this year will be three years in October since we launched Windows 7. So I think that's a good guideline to consider."
Now, Microsoft has been hinting at this three-years-after-7 thing for a while. In fact, it used the same tactic to talk about a Windows 7 launch date, citing a three year gap from Vista. What's new is that instead of saying "Fall," or 12 months from BUILD, Microsoft is actually saying the word "October" out loud. Still, that's no guarantee of an October launch; there's plenty of leeway in this quote. The gap between Vista and Windows 7 wasn't exactly three years: Vista came out in January 30th. Also, there's a difference between the Release to Master date, Microsoft's volume licensing release to manufacturers, and the actual consumer availability, so even if "October" is true, it could be any one of those slots.
Microsoft has been disappointingly mum here at CES about any launch plans for Windows 8, only mentioning the upcoming "milestone" public beta release in February, so at least we have this hint now. In the middle of last year dates were as wide ranging as mid-2012 and back-to-school 2013, so at least we're honing in.