Steve Ballmer is wrong. Windows 8 will not be released in 2012, and when the next version is released, it may not be called Windows 8, after all.

Microsoft clarified on Wednesday the next version of its operating system will not be launched next year, contrary to what CEO Steve Ballmer had said days ago. The company also refused to say if the upgraded version of the operating system will be called Windows 8.

It appears there was a misstatement. We are eagerly awaiting the next generation of Windows 7 hardware that will be available in the coming fiscal year. To date, we have yet to formally announce any timing or naming for the next version of Windows, Microsoft spokesman said in an email, according to LA Times.

Ballmer had said in Tokyo on Monday that Microsoft will launch next year its much talked about Windows 8. As we look forward to the next generation of Windows systems, which will come out next year, there's a whole lot more coming ... As we progress through the year, you ought to expect to hear a lot about Windows 8. Windows 8 slates, tablets, PCs, a variety of different form factors, Ballmer had said.

Ballmer said developers were hard at work on the next version of Windows, but did not drop any clue to its rumored features circulating around the Internet.

Intel’s revelation last week that Microsoft could release both an ARM-based and x86-based Windows 8 had stirred some controversy. Windows 8 running atop ARM will not run legacy applications while the x86-based Windows 8 will support legacy apps. The Windows 8 on ARM is primarily targeted at mobile and tablet platforms.

Intel had also said that Windows will come in different versions to run on both tablets and PCs. However, Microsoft had dismissed comments from Intel. Intel's statements during yesterday's Intel investor meeting about Microsoft's plans for the next version of Windows were factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading, it said.