Last month, I kicked off the Windows 7 release date prediction pool with my analysis on why I think Windows 7 will be released in time for the holiday buying season in 2009, picking July 29, 2009 as my entry. At the same time, I invited readers to add their guesses in the TalkBack section.
This morning, I went back and tallied the vote so far. The rules were pretty simple: Enter the complete date – day, month, and year – when you believe Microsoft will officially issue its press release announcing the release to manufacturing of Windows 7.
Out of 169 TalkBack posts, I tallied 72 non-duplicated entries that met the official rules. Unsurprisingly, several threads quickly degenerated into mindless Microsoft bashing and off-topic discussions of other operating systems. (Yawn.) For the purposes of tallying, I threw out five entries whose dates were unrealistically early (August 2008? Put down that bong, sir...) or late (the most extreme example was one commenter who insisted that the ship date would be April 8, 2017).
Apparently, my analysis was persuasive, because 52 of the entries, about 70%, picked dates in 2009. Six diehard optimists believe that Windows 7 will ship in the first half of the year, before June 30; the remaining entries were fairly evenly distributed around the latter half of the year: 12 in July, 12 in August, 6 in September, 13 in October, and 3 in November.
Roughly 1 in 5 of you think Microsoft's track record of failed delivery dates means Windows 7 won't be ready till 2010, and 1 in 10 think the ship date will be in 2011.
If you believe in the theory of crowdsourcing, this community should be able to predict the actual release date more accurately than any individual. So what's the consensus? I entered the dates into an Excel worksheet and calculated the median, which works out to (drumroll, please...)
September 30, 2009
That's cutting it pretty closely for a holiday release, but it's certainly possible. Anyway, if that date turns out to be accurate, I'll tip my hat to all 72 of you.
Thanks for playing.