Microsoft's Windows 8 Release Candidate -- the early release of its new operating system that succeeds the beta version and precedes its commercial release -- might be released sooner than originally thought, but it may be holding back the release of Internet Explorer 10.

The latest rumors about the Windows 8 Release candidate come from reputable sources within Microsoft's network of business partners. Both The Next Web and ZDNet have not received information about specific release dates for Internet Explorer 10 or Windows 8, but both blogs say that Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 are likely to be delivered in the middle of 2012.

Microsoft appears to have the Internet Explorer 10 release dates planned as generally available and as a historical release cadence in the middle of 2012 says TNW editor and reporter Alex Wilhelm, referencing charts provided by an inside source to ZDNet. Wilhelm suspects that the Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 release dates are inherently linked because he believes it would otherwise lead to a buggy, and rather stifling experience if both weren't ready for heavy use.

ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley similarly pointed out in a blog post containing details about Microsoft's release date plans that Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 are inherently linked. She wrote, So all I can say for sure from this is if Microsoft follows its established release patterns, IE 10 could be out by mid-year - maybe around the time Microsoft delivers the Windows 8 Release Candidate.

Other sources have been more willing to divulge information on purported release dates. The blog said, We know the Release Candidate of Windows 8 will be shared with the public between the end of May to the beginning of June. The blog says that Windows 8 Release Candidate would feature a few changes from the current beta that exists.

Microsoft will be holding an industry event in April at which the company plans to share Windows 8 release strategy and more details about upcoming products with industry partners. By next month, we should know much more about when we can begin to expect the new software and operating system.