Microsoft sure is trickling out the Windows 7 news as slowly as possible.
On July 21, via a posting on the Windows Team Blog, Microsoft shared its delivery timetable for the Windows 7 bits. Without yet disclosing the release-to-manufacturing date -- which Microsoft has said will be before the end of this month -- company officials provided the following new dates:
OEMs: Two days after RTM
ISVs and IHV partners: August 6 (downloadable via Microsoft Connect or MSDN)
Microsoft Gold certified resellers: August 16 (downloadable from the partner portal in English only); October 1 (other language)
TechNet subscribers: August 6 (English only); October 1 (other languages)
MSDN subscribers: August 6 (English only); October 1 (other languages)
Microsoft "Action Pack" subscribers: August 23 (English only); October 1 (remaining languages)
Volume licensees with existing Software Assurance license: August 7 (downloadable from the Volume License Service Center in English); a couple of weeks after that for other languages. (So my original post on when business users would get Windows 7 wasn't really wrong, after all. Glad we cleared that up. Not!)
Volume licensees without a Software Assurance license: September 1 (downloadable from the Volume License Service Center)
Consumers: General availability begins October 22. Retailers and OEMs will be offering new systems preloaded with Windows 7 and copies of Windows 7 at retail on that day.
The good news: There will be a family pack for Windows Home Premium, Microsoft is confirming, and it will allow installation on up to three PCs. Microsoft still isn't talking pricing on that one, but my colleague Ed Bott already had the pricing details.
The bad news: No free copies of Windows 7 for techical beta testers. The 50 percent discount offer that already closed for Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional was your thank you.