According to sources close to Microsoft the latest date set for Longhorn to go to manufacturing by is August 15, 2005. This date is due to be announced to many partners/OEMs and internally with Microsofts roadmap dates by the end of next month.

What does this mean for Longhorn? Aslong as they stick to the date then it's good news for those interested in the next Windows operating system and those wanting to get a better look at it. Microsoft are going to be dishing out a preview version designed for developers at their annual professional developers conference next month. It's not expected to be very different from the first few alphas we've witnessed and still lacking of the most important factor, aero (the much hyped UI for Longhorn).

From our calculations we're guessing that official beta testing will happen in early to mid 2004 and lasting just over a year. At release candidate stage the beta is expected to be an open beta allowing many customers to preview the next version of Windows. This latest date is always subject to change but you heard it here first.