There's more evidence that if you're in the market for a new Windows PC and can wait until July 1, you might as well do so if you are interested in getting a free upgrade to Windows 7 once it ships.
In December 2008, the TechARP enthusiast site broke the news about Microsoft's planned Windows upgrade program for Windows 7. This week, TechARP posted a few new details about how and when Microsoft and its PC partners will begin priming the channel for Windows 7.
(Note: As was the case in January, Microsoft still isn't commenting on the specifics of TechARP's report. But it looks to me as if the TechARP folks got their hands on documents Microsoft has been sharing with its inner circle of PC maker partners. Microsoft held a recent briefing for some of these partners a week ago. In fact, one of the reasons the company went public last week with its Windows 7 SKU lineup was because it feared that information -- which it was sharing with PC makers last week -- was going to leak anyway.)
According to TechARP, in December 2008, Microsoft told OEMs that it was readying a Technical Guarantee program for Windows 7 (something it has done with previous Windows releases, as well), via which Microsoft would allow PC makers to offer customers who buy Windows Vista machines as of July 1 free upgrades to Windows 7 once it shipped.
This week, TechARP noted that the Windows 7 Upgrade Program is looking like it will run from July 1 to January 31, 2010. (The original end date reported by TechARP was "to be determined.") The final fulfillment date for delivering the free Windows 7 media to userswill be April 30, 2010, TechARP said this week. And 32-bit Windows Vista to 64-bit Windows 7 upgrades won't be free, TechARP added; only 32-bit to 32-bit or 64-bit to 64-bit upgrades will be included as part of the planned Upgrade Program.
It's still sounding like Windows 7 is on track for a Q3 2009 delivery, with a Release Candidate due around April from folks I'm talking to. Microsoft officials still aren't willing to say for the record that the product will ship in calendar 2009.