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As the subject states, is it legal for a company to start offering preorders of an upcoming piece of software without an announced release date?

Follow-up, if there is a release date, must they sell it exactly on that day? What happens if they're late, or early?

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I am not a lawyer, but all of this would be contained in the contract. When you pre-order a piece of software you sign a contract. That contract stipulates terms of delvery, including if there is a specific release date (you would be dumb to sign one that says "you give us $x and we will give you some software sometime" but that is effectively what most pre-orders are). The contract also specifies what happens if a date is missed (probably nothing). If it is early there is no harm so nothing could be recouped anyway.

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