Many interpreted Steve Ballmer’s remarks as an unofficial announcement that Windows 8 will launch in 2012, but Microsoft said it has no solid timeline (Pankaj Nangia/BLOOMBERG)

According to the report, the new system isn’t expected to launch until next year.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seemed to hint that Windows 8 would be launching in 2012 at a speech in Tokyo on Monday, saying “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.”

But the company told the LA Times on Wednesday that Ballmer’s remarks were a mistake.

“It appears there was a misstatement,” the company told the newspaper in an e-mail. “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.”

The company has fallen behind in the tablet wars, as Apple and Google fight for market domination. According to the latest report from Gartner, Apple’s iOS had 83.9 percent of the tablet market share in 2010, but will steadily lose market share to Google’s Android platform through 2015.

Do you think Microsoft can catch up?

Related stories:

PHOTOS:Tablet wars intensify

Microsoft CEO Ballmer promises ‘500 new features’ for the Windows Phone 7

Microsoft previews Mango, the next Windows Phone platform