Excitement spread like virtual wildfire as tech sites the world over got hold of this juicy titbit from Ballmer:
"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."
Article continues below
The excitement reached fever pitch as it emerged that this was the first time what we've all been calling Windows 8 since the dawn of Windows 7 had been officially referred to as Windows 8 by anyone at Microsoft.
"Windows 8 is coming!" lairy OS fans called to each other in the streets as the carnival atmosphere spread from Japan, where Ballmer was speaking, to Timbuktu (probably).
But revellers' euphoria was cut short when Microsoft today intoned, "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."
Oh, Steve Ballmer. Freudian slip?
Still, Intel ought to feel better about its recent Windows 8 related slap on the wrist now that Ballmer has had the same treatment.