The general public will be able to download the beta of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system from 9 January, Microsoft said today, with some customers getting access today.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said Microsoft MSDN, TechNet and TechBeta subscribers could get access to the beta, leaked to the internet in late December, today, with everyone else having to wait a day to get access from the Windows 7 website.
(Credit: Renai LeMay/ZDNet.com.au)
"I'm thrilled to announce the availability of the Windows 7 beta, which is on track to deliver simplicity and reliability," Ballmer told the audience, during a lengthy Microsoft presentation which also included sessions from Australian comedy music act Tripod.
Windows Server 2008 R2, which is believed to be based on the Windows 7 code, will also be made available to testers. In addition, Microsoft announced that its Windows Live suite of downloadable consumer products had left beta status and would see some integration with Facebook (including the Ninemsn services that are integrated with Live in Australia).
Before Ballmer's speech, top Windows executive Bill Veghte said the company was telling PC makers that Windows 7 might or might not be ready in time for this year's holiday season.
"I'm telling them that it could go either way," Veghte told CNET News in an interview. "We will ship it when the quality is right, and earlier is always better, but not at the cost of ecosystem support and not at the cost of quality."
Veghte also said that the economy has been factored into his marketing plans for Windows, which is currently being featured in an advertising push initially estimated at several hundred million dollars over several years.