Microsoft bends (a little) on Windows 7 due date

Microsoft bends (a little) on Windows 7 due date

Summary: Given Microsoft's Q3 FY 2009 results announced today, one might think the Redmondians would offer Wall Street and its shareholders a little glimmer of hope. Like a commitment to deliver Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 this calendar year? Nope. Instead, all the powers-that-be did was bend a little.


Microsoft's third-quarter fiscal 2009 earnings are out and they're not good. Company officials are acknowledging soft PC and server sales hit the Windows client and Server and Tools unit, resulting in a decline in net income and diluted earnings per share (down 32 percent and 30 percent, respectively).

Given the numbers, one might think the Redmondians would offer Wall Street and its shareholders a little glimmer of hope. Like a commitment to deliver Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 this calendar year?

Nope. Instead, all the powers-that-be did was bend a little. Now Windows 7 is known as the operating system that will launch some time during Microsoft's fiscal 2010 -- which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

That is a slight departure from what the Softies have begrudgingly said up until now. Up until today, Microsoft execs wouldn't say more than Windows 7 would ship three years after Windows Vista general availability, meaning by January 2010. That's despite the fact that just about everyone who has tested and seen Windows 7 believes it will RTM this year -- in time to be preloaded on new holiday PCs. The goal remain unchanged: Under-promise and over-deliver. But the veiled hint is there...

(I did hear from one source of mine recently that November 2009 is the new target delivery date for WIndows 7, but that source wasn't clear if that is a planned launch date or an RTM date. If it's the latter, it's going to be a close call for the holiday 2009 thing.)

The call with Wall Street analysts starts at 5:30 p.m. ET. I'm curious whether the Microsoft brass will mention that the company just put the finishing touches on the Windows 7 Release Candidate (as Neowin reported, build 7100). When I asked Microsoft execs earlier this morning if they'd corroborate Neowin's posting about Windows 7 going to OEM partners and gold Technology Adoption Program (TAP) customers this week, all I got back was a no comment. Microsoft did goof last weekend and post May 5 as the date on which the one and only public RC build will be available to the public.

Today also could have been a good time for Microsoft to discuss publicly its expected-but-so-far-unacknowledged plans to provide customers who buy Vista PCs starting this summer with a free upgrade to Windows 7 when it is available. I'm not holding my breath, but you never know....

More earnings analysis is coming... stay tuned. Meanwhile, check out my ZDNet colleague Larry Dignan's take on Microsoft's numbers. As Dignan notes, Microsoft's Online Systems Business continues to be a bottomless pit.

Topics: Operating Systems, Microsoft, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • W7 for the holidays

    There will be much less fanfare and excitement if W7 isn't available for the holidays. But I guess MS could tamp down some of the bleeding if they offer a free, painless upgrade from Vista.
    • The free is easy

      They do the free upgrades before every new release, so that's nothing new. It's the painless that I would worry about. There's never been a painless Window upgrade yet. Oh sure a few individuals might have a smooth go at it, but on the whole upgrades tend to be messy.
      Michael Kelly
      • Normally I'd agree

        But if you're going from Vista SP2 to 7 it should be pretty painless. And it's ridiculously fast. Like 15-20 mins. Which makes me think it doesn't have to touch programs or settings at all from the Vista counterpart, just replace system files and some minor tweaks.
        • Exactly why Win7 will fail. It's just Vista SP3. (NT)

          No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • Who cares it is the same old junk

    Same old code with new icons and viruses waiting.
    • I can see how foolish you are

      What a fool! Performance-increase by 30% requires a lot of changes to vista code. Viruses? Same issue for all OSs.
      • Support your claims !!!

        Disclose the sources of your data.
        InAction Man
        • Huh?

          Which claims does he have to support?

          Malware on other operating systems?
          Already well documented that malware exists for every current operating system, and that level of penetration is roughly at an exponential ratio to OS market penetration.

          Performance Improvements?
          Already well documented that, in most situations, Windows 7 outperforms XP on the same hardware.
          • You just claimed a 30% performance increase

            I would like to see where you got the data.
            InAction Man
          • Ignore him.

            He was going on the other day about supporting claims about a question I asked. No claims in the post. Just a question. That is his new mantra. "Support your claims."
          • Bad advice, I' sure he will take it.

            I'm still waiting...
            InAction Man
          • Exponential what?

            First of all, what the heck is an "exponential ratio?"
            You can't just make math up. Second, there is actually no
            correspondence between market share and malware penetration. This is
            a myth, and I challenge you (or anyone) to post ACTUAL numbers that
            show otherwise. There are any number of contrary examples, viruses for
            the Coleco ADAM, Atari ST and Amiga malware numbers, virus availability
            for MacOS9, malware released for OSX, etc.. None of these numbers
            matches the predictions of the market share theory.

            Math is an actual process, you don't just get to make it up.
          • Exponential has so many definitions and synonyms

            You might as well be wee-weeing in the wind as to base an argument on that.

            Which you essentially are doing. Better don your goggles if you don't want wee-wee in your eyes............
            Ole Man
  • RE: Microsoft bends (a little) on Windows 7 due date

    Until MS doesn't ditch windows model and starts a new os
    from scratch, the problems, security issues and else will
    continue to harm their image and by the way, revenue
    • Let me guess

      You also hate how many things Vista broke from XP right? You do realize that it's because there was a major code rewrite... Of course you don't. "Windoze r da failZ!1!!!!"
      • BS answer

        Microsoft could have created a compatibility sandbox and run a copy of
        XP inside that. You know, kind of like what Apple did when it transitioned
        from OS 9 to OS X.

        Quit making excuses for Microsoft and start holding them to a higher
        • You know better than that

          He wouldn't get paid for then!
          Ole Man
      • Excuses, excuses excuses !!!

        All I can hear is excuses.
        InAction Man
    • That was Vista.

      While the interface has quite a bit to be desired, the actual low level
      things in the OS were pretty well done. It gave MS a good foundation to
      move on and tweak the interface.
      • From what I understand...

        Win7 is more than just Vista with a tweaked interface.

        The code is smaller, tighter, and faster. The real tweaking seems to have
        been at a lower level.