Microsoft’s Windows 8 may have an October sale date, according to people familiar with the company’s schedule. Bloomberg reports:

Microsoft Corp. will finish work on Windows 8 this summer, setting the stage for personal computers and tablets with the operating system to go on sale around October, according to people with knowledge of the schedule.

The initial rollout will include devices running Intel Corp. and ARM Holdings Plc chips, making good on Microsoft’s promise to support both standards, said the people, who declined to be named because the plans are confidential. In embracing ARM technology, Microsoft is using the same kind of processors as Apple Inc.’s iPad. Still, there will be fewer than five ARM devices in the debut, compared with more than 40 Intel machines.

The timing would let Microsoft target Christmas shoppers with the new software, which works with touch-screen devices as well as laptops and desktop PCs. The Redmond, Washington-based company, which hasn’t announced timing for the Windows 8 release, aims to take back sales lost to the iPad and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Apple released the third version of the iPad this month, posing an even stiffer challenge to Microsoft.

“If they miss the September-October time frame, they’re going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Stamford, Connecticut- based Gartner Inc. “The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it’s going to be a good seller for the holidays.”

VentureBeat.com‘s Tom Cheredar is surprised that the company is waiting that long to launch the operating system:

Putting Windows 8 on sale in October would allow Microsoft to take advantage of the busy holiday season. Presumably, that could give retailers selling Windows 8 devices a nice marketing boost. That’s a good thing if you consider how depressed the current PC market is right now.

I’m kind of surprised that Microsoft wouldn’t launch the operating system sooner, especially in regards to tablets. The company is already well behind both Android and iOS when it comes to device adoption. It’s worth noting that Apple just broke a new single-day record for sales of its third generation iPad — and already selling a total of 3 million iPads after last week’s launch. I’m guessing that it’ll take quite a bit longer for as many Windows 8 devices to sell.

Microsoft is planning to make another announcement related to Windows 8 next week in Houston, The Verge reports:

So far, the message from Microsoft about Windows 8 has been that Metro is where the fun stuff goes, and the classic desktop is where the boring work happens, but it looks like that might be changing. ZDNet reports that Microsoft is planning to announce Metro-style Windows 8 versions of its Dynamics ERP and CRM software at the company's Dynamics Convergence event this week in Houston. Dynamics ERP and CRM are popular software packages for enterprise, whose names stand for "enterprise resource planning" and "customer resource management." The tools can be used to manage everything from accounting, to a firm's supply chain, analytics, and field services.

The images supplied by Microsoft feature all the hallmarks of Metro design: the Segoe WP font, the spaced-out graphical elements, and the simple color palettes; a stark contrast from the company's graphically busy 2011 offerings. The redesign concepts follow Microsoft's recent announcement of iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone apps for CRM 2012, showing the company's efforts to make its enterprise offerings both more attractive, and more easily accessible. It's no secret that Microsoft has a strong position in enterprise, so to see it freshening up the typically staid Dynamics suites shows how committed it is to its overall design overhaul.