In September last year, Microsoft launched a "while supplies last" free 90-day trial of Windows 7 that was targeted specifically at enterprise customers. I guess those supplies are holding out. On March 30, the company extended that free 90-day enterprise promotion through the end of 2010.
In a post on the company's Springboard Series blog, Microsoft officials said that "due to popular demand, the Windows Enterprise Trial program has been extended." Interested parties now have until December 31, 2010 to download and evaluate the Windows 7 Enterprise trial version.
The trial copy is a full working version of Windows 7 Enterprise that does not require a product key (it's embedded inside the download). Users have 10 days from the time they sign up to activate the product. If they don't activate, the system will shut down once an hour until activated. After the 90-day period ends, the system will shut down once an hour until a user either purchases Windows 7 (and performs a clean install of it, including drivers and applications, or removes it from their system.
Windows 7 has impressed early adopters, according to a new study by Forrester Research issued this week. However, Forrester also noted in an accompanying report that Windows XP is still holding its own as a competitor to Windows 7 among U.S. consumers.
Here's a slide from the latter report, based on research conducted between December 22 and December 28, 2009, when Forrester surveyed 4,559 US online consumers. (Click on the image below to enlarge.)