Cast your vote in the Windows 7 release date prediction pool

Cast your vote in the Windows 7 release date prediction pool

Summary: When will Windows 7 be ready for release? The current conventional wisdom says 2010, but I say that’s wrong. In this post, I explain why Microsoft has to release Windows 7 befoire the end of 2009, and why I think they can do it. And just to make things interesting, I’ll kick off the unofficial Windows 7 Release Date Prediction Pool with my prediction. Think you know more than me? Leave your best guess in the Talkback section.

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Update 16-May-2008: I've tallied the entries so far. What's the consensus? See my follow-up post: Windows 7 ship date? The crowd has spoken…

When will Windows 7 be ready for release? The tech blogosphere seems to have interpreted Microsoft's latest carefully parsed announcement as pointing to a January 2010 release. But I agree with my colleague Mary Jo Foley that a 2010 date doesn't make much sense. And I don't need any inside information to make that prediction. All it takes is some common sense. In this post, I'll give you the lay of the Windows 7 landscape, and just to make things interesting, I'll kick off the unofficial Windows 7 Release Date Prediction Pool with my prediction. Think you know more than me? Leave your best guess in the Talkback section. (Rules at the end of this post.)

I think Windows 7 will arrive long before the end of 2009. My reasoning is based on these four pillars:

Vista's brand value is near zero. From a branding perspective, the Windows Vista name is practically toxic. Although the Vista experience has improved tremendously in the past year, the damage is already done, and the best solution is to get its replacement ready sooner rather than later.

It's gotta be in time for Q4. If you're responsible for revenue at Microsoft, you desperately want to ship a new operating system in time for computer makers to load it on new computers during the crucial holiday selling season. If you miss that season and ship too late in the year, you surrender huge amounts of cash and alienate your partners. Windows Vista was originally supposed to ship in October 2006, and the delay to January 30, 2007 was just one of many missteps in its checkered existence.

Waiting until Q4 2010 is not an option. There's no way that Windows 7 can be ready for Q4 of 2008, so Microsoft and its PC maker partners are already braced for a lackluster selling season this year. But missing Q4 2009 also? Heads would roll in Redmond if that happened.

Yes, it can be done. Microsoft watchers like to point to the company's atrocious record with development timelines. Vista's messy schedule, with the notorious 2004 "Longhorn reset," could be a Harvard Business School case study in how not to build software. So why will things be different this time? Because Steven Sinofsky is in charge. During his tenure as head of the Office division, Sinofsky earned a reputation for shipping products on time. And with a stint as a visiting scholar at Harvard Business School on his bio, you can bet he's learned the lessons of Vista.

My prediction? I’m sticking with what I wrote back in January. Windows 7 will be released to manufacturing on July 29, 2009, exactly 1000 days after Vista's November 2, 2006 RTM date. [Update: As at least one commenter has noted, the official RTM date for Windows Vista was actually November 8, 2006, as noted in this press release. The November 2 date I mentioned reflects the time stamp on Vista system files, indicating that the final build was cut on that date and then tested for the next six days.]  That leaves plenty of time for PC makers to get their new models ready for the holiday buying season, and it even gives them a fighting chance at a decent back-to-school season.

So there's my entry in the Windows 7 Release Date Prediction Pool. Hit the Talkback button and add your guess. The rules are simple. You must enter one complete date – day, month, and year. In the event of a tie, the earliest post wins. The actual date will be determined by the date on Microsoft's official press release announcing the release to manufacturing of Windows 7.

Prizes? What, the smug satisfaction of knowing that you were right and I was wrong isn't enough? OK, I'll throw in an autographed copy of my first book on Windows 7. Let the guessing begin!

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

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Talkback

174 comments
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  • My prediction

    is there will be both internal and external pressures to get a product out and that it will be released before it is fully cooked, and everybody will be unhappy as a result. In other words, history will repeat itself yet again.

    I pray I am wrong.
    Michael Kelly
    • Hurry ! Hurry ! Plouf !!! Short Terms Draw VS Mid and Long Terms Benefit.

      Your Right ! Why M$ would like to rush again an make more than twice the same mistake. Why M$ would like to be consider for ever in the mind of Business deciders ?The Millennium Flop? ?

      In my opinion, if M$ want to up level the sales benefit he should consider a Second Edition of XP Pro and target Vista SP2 for 2009. Giving that way the time for Wind 7 to meet al the best preparation for his Take Of on November-December 2010.

      That way M$ will have gain back his ?Credibility?s? of OS maker, in my concern, with the benefit of slowing down the expansion of Linux.

      If 2009 is the year for Wind 7 than the World will make a turn on Mac OS or Linux !
      pobstar1@...
    • Sheep mentality

      So you're obviously unhappy with MS's current offerings
      and HOPE that the next one will be better! (but not you?)

      What's wrong in this dark and gloomy picture? Why don't
      you people start digging through the many alternatives? Or
      are you so darn uneducated and don't even KNOW you
      have plenty of options?

      So MS's current OS sucks. Then move on with life and exercise your power as a consumer for Christ's sake!
      Mikael_z
      • You Bet I Did ! And guest what !!!

        I like Simplicit? and making my choice on someting that suite all of my need and expectation. Windows XP Pro SP2 is my choice since 2004 until 2010 if Windows 7 is not Suitable.

        Linux ??? Take a look here and pic your Choice Smart Guys !

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions
        pobstar1@...
        • PCLinuxOS

          http://www.pclinuxos.com/

          http://www.pclinuxos.com/index.php?option=com_ionfiles&Itemid=28

          From my experience PCLinuxOS is lighter on resources than *buntu and can do the exact same things. B-)
          btljooz
          • Linux Distro ! Hum... This year Ubundu, next year Which One ???

            When it comes to choose the right tool for Multimedia Jobs and personal satisfaction of very good softwares never the less win the ribbon. Sun Microsystems eat the dust in the beginning of 2000 and let away his Office Suite to the Open and now IBM with is own one, Lotus Symphony (previously Lotus Smart Suite) did the same thing. But the point here is not an Office suite software to choose but a good OS. So have a try in betting which one will be the next flavored star Linux among the multiple Linux OS in list here at Wiki.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Linux_distributions

            Today it is Ubundu, next year it will be ??? Who to belive and why is the question of next year. Today it is the Take Of Windows 7 Remember the title of the Blog here !

            @(?&?)@
            pobstar1@...
          • >>> @(?&?)@ <<< CUTE!!! ;)

            But if you'd actually READ your Wikipedia, you find that your spelling discredits you as much as citing Wikipedia in the first place does.

            It's Ubun[b]t[/b]u...NOT [i]Ubun[u]d[/i]u. B-)
            btljooz
          • which one is not the point

            the point is that many Distros are now contributing to make user friendly linux Desktops a reality. It doesn't really matter which is the most popular, Ubuntu, Freespire, Linspire, PClinuxOS, SimplyMepis, installing any of those is a zip, the administration and installation of hardware and applications are fairly easy, most of the time can be done in the GUI (of course there is still a cosole for the heavy duty geek), see Freespire Click'n'Run, or the Ubuntu "Add and Remove" option in the menu.

            Some of these distros have better financial backing than others and can offer a better and more reliable option for a business that needs support and a reasonable assumption that the company making and supporting the OS will be there in a few years, but they all benefit from the improvements each of them is bringing.
            The main difference I see now compared to 5 years ago is that you no longer need to study for a couple of days before you can get your first Linux installation running, and then you don't have to spend a week browsing forums and man pages just to get Java and Flash running or to be able to play an mp3 file.

            The Office suite is extremely important though, I think that whether the "alternative" Office suites like OpenOffice, KDEOffice, GoogleApps, AbiWord/Gnumeric, Lotus Symphony, Wordperfect Office, .... manage to mantain and possibly improve compatibility with MSOffice is going to be a determining factor in the adoption of Linux.
            bluescreen_z
          • Oups !!! Your Right Ubuntu ! Ubuntu ! Ubuntu !

            Now it's Fix !
            Thank'S @(???)@

            But this is'nt:

            Ubuntu * : A distribution sponsored by Canonical Ltd as well as receiving major funding from South African Mark Shuttleworth. Aims to offer a complete and polished desktop on a single CD.

            Mark Shuttleworth (Sun Open Java) - Kathleen (Millionsofus) - Tim Bray (Sun Microsystems) - Simon Phipps (Sun Microsystems)

            Sun Microsystems acquiert MySQL for 8,5 Billions dollars. My SQL: www.mysql.com/... The world's most popular open source database

            Open Free ! My Eyes !!!
            Industrial Catch Fishes !!!
            @(???)@
            pobstar1@...
      • Linux Distro Chooser

        http://www.zegeniestudios.net/ldc/

        There, now the sheep have help. ;\ B-)
        btljooz
        • Hasn't been updated since last year

          I've used it.

          It's a good tool but it's about six months old and in need of an update.
          hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • So what? It's *just* a BEGINNING! ;)

            So, it's "six months old".

            The newer versions of Linux are getting even BETTER and easier to use so this test is STILL relevant in helping the completely un-initiated person who wants to feel around about Linux.

            Other good Linux sites are:

            http://www.linux.org/

            >>> http://www.linux.org/groups/

            And:

            http://distrowatch.com/

            B-)
            btljooz
          • Relax...

            No put down of it, there. But it does need an update.
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • Yes,

            An update WOULD in deed help further, but my original point still stands. ;) :D
            btljooz
      • Ok Pal.. and why dont you ship out 10,000,000 Orielly...

        Manuals... so everyone can be as cool as you.

        why so hardcore?
        pcguy777
        • RE: Ok Pal... and why don't you ship out ...

          Obviously you've never run a Linux, much less a distro like PCLinuxOS. You don't need a manual to run it.... just a mouse. The same mouse you use to run XP, and in the same way. That's not too difficult for you, is it? Oh, you won't to buy anti-virus software, office software or CD burning software.

          By the way, it really doesn't matter which Linux distro you run. Though many "LOOK" different, they are the same underneath. ALL use the Linux kernel (there is only one Linux kernel just like there is only one XP kernel, regardless of the version number), and all use the same utilities and applications. It is just the "skins" that make some look so unique.

          Go to Distrowatch.com and pick one from the top 10 that offers a "LiveCD". You can play with it without touching your HD, even though it will run slower than if it was installed.
          GreyGeek
      • Who says I haven't?

        Just because I want MS's offering to be better that doesn't mean I am reliant on them. I want them to be better so I can have better choices.
        Michael Kelly
  • my guess: July 30, 2009

    It fits so many Microsoft criteria:

    1. In time for back-to-school and holiday preloads

    2. Right around the time the company will announce its fiscal 2009 results and be hosting Wall Street analysts for Financial Analyst Day

    3. It's a Thursday: Microsoft's favorite day of the week for big announcements

    4. It will still give Windows team members time for vacation during August

    I know MS is saying 2010, but to me, that is a worst-case scenario date. Remember: They delivered Office 2007 SP1 a lot earlier than they promised...
    Mary Jo Foley
    • Windoze ships February 14, 2011

      It will come in a year late. Unless 7 is a marketing patch with no real difference from Vista.
      caspianhiro
    • I agree...

      Yeah, this seems to fit, and I do think 2010 would be a sort of worst case estimate. After all, nothing reenforces customer confidence like being ahead of schedule.
      spyro17@...