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First things first: No piece of software the size of Windows is without bugs. And in this era of regular online updates, even a significant bug isn’t as significant as it might have been.

But comments allegedly made by Intel CEO Paul Otellini to employees are raising questions about Windows 8 as Microsoft prepares for the new operating system’s debut in less than a month — one of the most important product releases in the history of the Redmond company.

In the short run, the timing of the report could prove awkward for Intel, as it prepares to showcase Windows 8 tablets during an event in San Francisco today.

Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that Otellini told employees in Taiwan that Windows 8 was being released before it was ready.

In a statement yesterday, Intel called the report “unsubstantiated,” but didn’t actually say it was incorrect. The company isn’t asking Bloomberg for a correction, the Wall Street Journal reports.

In a note to clients this morning, Nomura Research analyst Rick Sherlund speculated that Otellini might have been trying to rally his troops to get the company’s upcoming Clover Trail processor for tablets in better shape for Windows 8 tablets when the new power-efficient chip is released early next year, aiming to help Intel compete more effectively against ARM-based Windows 8 tablets.

“We do not interpret comments attributed to Mr. Otellini to be a ‘killer issue’ for Windows 8 market adoption,” says Sherlund in the note. “Of the 800 unique Windows 8 devices certified by Microsoft already, it is not clear how many will be available at the launch and in what quantity, but we believe there will be enough to feature the product and begin to prove out the use case for a more fully functional tablet and Ultrabook touch device with Office compatibility.”

For the record, as noted by Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft calls Windows 8 “the most tested, reviewed and ready operating system in Microsoft’s history.”

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