Pre-production of Modern Warfare 3 has been confirmed by Activision in their counter-suit against former IW presidents, West and Zampella.
In a nutshell
According to Activision, the two former staff intentionally delayed the development of MW3 in order to gain leverage in their upcoming legal battles. Under the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), Activision requires the written consent of the two employees with anything concerning the entire Call Of Duty franchise. The two have intentionally withheld their consent unfairly which has caused Activision to take legal action with a counter-suit. Because of this, the costs of the legal battle and the associated costs of delay, will be incurred against MW3's speculated budget.
Nahh its fine. Although Activision was probably thinking a similar thing. The faster they get into production the faster the developers will produce their associated games in order to feed off the MW franchise = big bucks.