That announced the development of the lens, not the launch or release.
Did you not read the whole press release, including the part I quoted?
Here, let me quote it again. Direct copy / paste from the press release:
The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER 1.4x is scheduled for launch during 2011.
Sure reads to me like they're telling us that they had scheduled
date sometime during 2011.
And let's not forget that this was in February of 2011, so a statement like that really does mean that it was going to hit the streets "any day now, but certainly sometime in the next ten months."
Product delays happen. It's no big deal.
It does become a big deal, though, when you announce a product's imminent release within a specific near-term timeframe and then delay it by at least three years.
And it's a boneheaded amateur mistrake. A big corporation like Canon damned well should know, as I indicated in an earlier post, that you don't officially announce the product until the first units have come off the final assembly line -- for the express purpose of avoiding this kind of fiasco that Canon has created for itself.
Go ahead and let your anonymous sources pump stuff into the rumor mill, and maybe even every now and again showcase some of the nifty things your R&D team is playing with.
But no press releases, no official announcements, no dates, not even any timeframes -- nothing at all until those first units are all boxed up and ready to ship (and have cleared QA and everything else). They can sit in the warehouse for a couple months while you ramp up production, and you can release in limited quantities.
But don't make promises that you aren't certain you can't keep.