A Microsoft employee has accidentally leaked details of the firm's next operating system via his LinkedIn profile.

Robert Morgan, a senior member of the Microsoft Research team for the past seven years, posted the details on his profile at LinkedIn, a popular social networking site for business professionals.

He describes himself as: "Working in a high-security department for R&D involving strategic planning for medium- and long-term projects. R&D projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan."

If correct, the next version of Windows will be a major jump for Microsoft, which is producing 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. The jump to 128-bit suggests that Microsoft is banking on machines using much faster processors and a buoyant hardware refresh cycle.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has confirmed that the company is working on a client operating system to follow Windows 7, but details were not released. The earliest expected date would be 2012, he said.

Also revealing is the plan for Windows 9, something nobody at Microsoft has confirmed before.